Public transport operator Translink has confirmed smart ticketing is now expected to begin on buses this year, despite the state government previously suggesting it would be up and running by 2023.
The new technology allows commuters to tap on and off their public transport service with a credit or debit card, or a smart device such as a mobile phone – instead of with a go card.
The technology has already been deployed on trains and trams, but it is yet to be operational on buses and ferries.
A Translink spokesperson said trials on buses would begin this year, but would not say what month the payment system would likely be activated.
According to Translink, the delay has been caused by international supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than 2,490 of the 2,584 buses in south-east Queensland have had the smart ticketing on-board payment devices installed, with customers able to continue using their go card,” they said.
“Smart ticketing on-board payment devices have been installed on all of Brisbane City Council’s 30 vessels, including CityCats, and all of the Southern Moreton Bay Island ferry network.
“Smart ticketing customer trials will be progressively rolled out across Queensland’s regional urban bus services following delivery on south-east Queensland buses and ferries.”
The public transport operator also pointed out that there were 14 bus operators in the state’s south-east that all required “bespoke solutions” to install smart ticketing technology.
More than 10 million smart ticketing trips
Although smart ticketing has been activated on trams and trains, it is only available for commuters paying with an adult fare and not for those who travel on a concession ticket.
“Customers who travel on a concession fare will be able to use smart ticketing payment methods when the system is fully rolled out,” the Translink spokesperson said.
“Customers with concession entitlements should continue to use their go card or purchase a paper ticket at this time.”
Since it became available for adult commuters on trains and trams, more than 10 million trips have been taken using smart ticketing.
Bus travel is the most used public transport option in south-east Queensland.
Of the 153.25 million public transport trips in the south-east during 2022-23, more than 97 million – or about 63 per cent – were bus services.