The integrated ticketing system in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) is being introduced on a phased basis, based on smartcard technology. A progressive approach is being adopted to allow customers to familiarise themselves with using the new system and to permit transport operators to undertake the necessary testing with the integration of the technologies involved. The project is now firmly in the implementation phase.
A smartcard has been available on all Luas services for some time. Smartcards have also been introduced by Dublin Bus in respect of a number of ticket products such as annual and monthly tickets, 5-day rambler tickets, and annual and monthly integrated bus and rail, and bus and Luas tickets. The disposable smartcard is now being used by some 30% of Dublin Bus customers.
Irish Rail will launch its interim smartcard for its DART and Dublin commuter services from late Summer. The progressive roll-out of smartcards is in line with good practice internationally.
Subject to successful in-house testing, the single smartcard system will be rolled out initially to a small number of customers for live testing of the Dublin Bus / Luas integrated annual ticket. The full roll-out will take place throughout 2010 on Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail. This means that by end 2010, the ITS smartcard will be available to the vast majority of public transport passengers in the GDA. It is also envisaged that private bus operators will join the scheme.
Bus Éireann's project plan builds on the work currently being carried out for Dublin Bus as the ticketing equipment is similar. However Bus Éireann has advised that the software development work is more complex, taking account of the more complex ticketing issues that will arise with the introduction of longer distance commuter services to the scheme.
Bus Eireann will commence testing in Q4 2010, with rollout of smartcards on its pilot routes planned for early Q1 2011.