Launch of Integrated Smartcard for Dublin Welcomed
November 17th 2011
Rail Users Ireland today welcomes the next phase of testing for the integrated ticketing system (ITS) under the Leap card brand name. Public tests begin today on Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and Luas services. Bus Eireann and number of private coach operators operating in the Greater Dublin region will also be accepting the card in coming months.
Rail Users Ireland at the invitation of Irish Rail and the Rail Procurement Agency took part in testing of Leap card during two earlier phases of testing in 2011 as well as previous testing of the Irish Rail smartcard in 2010. The Rail Users Ireland test group provided comprehensive testing and analysis of the passenger experience of using the card highlighting issues as well as suggestions for improvement.
In the most recent trial Rail Users Ireland members used the electronic purse smartcard ticket on Luas, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail. This saw the tickets in use across the two Luas lines, several Dublin Bus routes and a number of Irish Rail stations as well as being topped up at both Luas stops and in a number of retailers in Dublin.
The next phase will see 500 members of the public being invited to take part in a wider trial. Details are available at http://www.integratedticketing.ie/
Fares charged on both Luas and Irish Rail are the same as those offered on the existing Luas and Irish Rail smartcards, providing a saving compared to both single and return cash fares. On Dublin Bus passengers can opt for a flat fare regardless of distance or have the exact fare deducted by the driver.
On a technical level the Integrated Ticketing System is significantly more advanced than the Oyster System in London and as a result offers far greater security for users as well as the capability to support a wider range of features and applications in the future. The scheme is also compatible with the new Social Services Card which will allow the elimination of the current paper-based passes issued by the Department of Social Protection under the Free Travel Scheme, significantly reducing the potential for fraud in the future.
As the system rolls out in the coming months key passenger friendly features will be enabled:
- If in a 7 day period, Sunday to Saturday your travel by any of the transport operators exceeds the value of a 7 day ticket for that operator a cap is applied and you pay only the 7 day fare regardless of how much additional travel you make. If your travel across multiple operators exceeds the 7 day fare for the 7 day multi-operator ticket, again you will be capped at that fare regardless of how much additional travel you make.
- Transfer rebates will apply a partial refund to the smartcard when a passenger makes several journeys over a short period of time, for example bus then Luas or two buses. The exact mechanism for this scheme has not been disclosed.
- On bus services a smartcard user can use his/her card to pay for their traveling companions as well as themselves.
- Monthly and annual tickets for one or more operators can be combined with e-purse credit for use elsewhere.
The project cost at 55 million euro, includes the cost of all ticketing equipment used on Luas, Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Irish Rail as well as that provided to the private bus and coach operators.
Mark Gleeson, spokesperson Rail Users Ireland, said "Today's public launch of the Leap card represents a key step forward in developing a truly integrated public transport system which is easy to use. The introduction of fare capping and rebates in later phases guarantees the best value regardless of the journeys undertaken."
A secondary benefit is the anonymised information gathered from smartcard use will, for the first time, provide an accurate record of travel patterns, recording what services they use and where they change between services. This will assist in future timetabling and infrastructure planning.
Spokesperson Mark Gleeson, continued "While both Luas and Irish Rail offer discounts of 10-40 cent sic per journey compared to cash fares, serious concerns remain as Dublin Bus will at the outset offer no discounts and will offer a ridiculous flat fare of 2.20 euro despite currently offering a 1.90 euro flat fare on its 'Travel 90' ticket. There appears to be a steadfast refusal by Dublin Bus to move to a passenger friendly fare structure. This must be addressed urgently."