Aug 5, 2008

On The Buses : Snapper Card The Real Story

While Poneke has been highlighting the teething problems being experienced by Wellington's bus and train payment system - the Snapper, we have been looking at things from a different angle. We know that Auckland has been planning to introduce such a system for some time. Why has Wellington been able to get its system up and running first? And how much has the Wellington card cost the Wellington ratepayers and new Zealand taxpayers? How does this contrast with Auckland?

The answers to these questions should outrage every New Zealander, and cause double outrage to Auckland ratepayers.

Here are the results of our research:
  • The Auckland Regional Transport Authority have decided to develop their own system. They won't let the private sector in on the business. In Wellington the Snapper has been developed and introduced by the private sector.
  • Wellington's system is up an running (I used my card without any problems this morning). Auckland's system is not set for introduction until 2011.
  • Wellington's system has cost the ratepayers $0. Likewise no subsidy has been received from Central Government.
  • ARTA have a budget for their card of $77,372,453.
  • 47% of this to be funded by Auckland rate payers and 53% tax payers.
  • Last year their budget was $6,275,472 and this year they expect to spend $13,511,585.

This is an outrage. Government should step in and sort this problem out. ARTA should stop development on its unique system immediately and allow Snapper to be introduced. And $60 million would be saved. Auckland rate payers might like to reflect on the $19 million of waste on this project so far. The New Zealand taxpayer has an opportunity to express his or her opinion in November.

Update: the bugs in Poneke's snapper card seem to have been fixed.