Integrated ticketing long overdue
In 2002 the Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) was given the responsibility of overseeing an integrated ticketing system for Dublin. This would allow customers to carry one ticket that would work on all public transport in the Greater Dublin area.
In 2002, the RPA prepared a budget of €29.6 million for the four year project starting in 2002. By January 2006, the budget had risen to €42.7m, The key reasons given for the increase in the budget were a longer implementation period, the consequential need for retention of the project team and management for an additional two years.
As well phase three of the project – procurement – had to be scrapped at a cost of 860,000 and delayed the project by a year. The Comptroller and Auditor General says that he was concerned at the way: “the project had been managed had led to the lack of progress and the incurring of substantial nugatory expenditure”.
An integrated ticketing system has been promised for many years. In 1999 Mary O'Rourke, then minister for transport, said proposals were being finalised for integrated ticketing for all public transport in Dublin. In 2002, the next transport minister, Seamus Brennan, said the system would be in place in 2004 and fully operational by 2005.
In March 2005 a “smart card” was launched for the Luas network, but it does not work on the bus or rail systems. At the time of the launch, Martin Cullen promised that there would be a smart card for the Dart and the bus by the following year.
It is unlikely that an integrated ticket system will be in place until at least 2008.