NSW cancels Tcard project, and wants AUD 95 million back
The government is determined to go through court actionto recover AUD 95 million (EUR 57 million) of taxpayers' money, starting with theseizure of an AUD 10 million (EUR 6 million) performance bond. Last November,the State Government gave notice to ERG that it intended to terminate itscontract, citing years of delays. At that time ERG had been told that it had untilDecember 3, 2007 to produce a plan for completing the Tcard, or the contractwould end. ERG pleaded its case to the ticketing corporation and presented itwith a remediation plan, consisting in an "alternative low-risk" approach thatwould see the Tcard working within two years.
ERG claimed it would take until 2017 for another company to provide a smartcardif it was to be dumped. ERG said that in terminating the contract theGovernment had "more than likely just doubled the price of its next system". Oneof the issues in the project is Sydney's train fare system: it has more than 120fare products that have proved a nightmare to integrate. ERG blamed the poorcooperation with the NSW government for the failure of the project.
"Ongoing delays, failures and the company's appalling project management haveleft the Government no choice," Transport Minister John Watkins said.The project has become a huge embarrassment for the State Government, whichpromised a transport smartcard would be ready for the Sydney Olympics, in 2000.The government now has to restart its search for a workable all-in-one cashlessticketing system for Sydney's ferries, buses and trains.
In Victoria, the Government said its AUD 500 million (EUR 300 million) publictransport smart card will not be affected by the situation in New South Wales,even if Melbourne's smartcard, myki, is also behind schedule (cf. SI #08-02). InVictoria, the Transport Ticketing Authority has a contractual relation with Kamco(Keane's consortium), of which ERG is a small subcontractor.
In Queensland, the smart card project is in roll-out phase (cf. SI #08-04).