Why don't we have integrated ticketing yet?
Under the remit of the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), they have responsibility to deliver integrated ticketing. To listen to the RPA - this is a mammoth task, with integration of 'smart card' systems from different companies. It's so complicated that they are taking 30 million Euro of taxpayers' money to do it.
The latest update from the RPA is that the three companies tendering for a contract for integrated ticketing have all pulled out (see http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2005/09/04/story7674.asp ). The RPA's solution is to go ahead and do it themselves. Given delays, cost overruns and general incompetence on the Luas project, this latest update means yet more bad news for commuters.
If a zonal fare structure was put in place tomorrow fully integrated ticketing could be in place very quickly. While it is easy to look at other cities with successful smart card systems London and Hong Kong in particular all these cities already had a zonal fare structure in place to start with. Until Dublin gets a similar zonal arrangement integrated ticketing is going nowhere.
First and the most important thing to note is smartcard ticketing is not integrated ticketing, it can be integrated but one doesn't imply the other. Any system put in place must allow people without smartcards to avail of integrated ticketing.
We could have limited integrated ticketing tomorrow
As can be seen from the image above, the tickets currently used by Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann and Luas are technically identical. The machines used to issue them are also identical. Revenue sharing arrangements are already in place between Veoila/RPA (for Luas), Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann.
All that it would take for Luas + Rail integrated ticketing to happen is a simple software update of the ticket machines on Luas and DART. You can already get from Portlaoise to Raheny and Tallaght to Ranelagh on one ticket. Why not Tallaght to Raheny or Dundrum to Ballymun? It's possible tomorrow, only for the incompetence of the RPA.
We already have tickets covering Irish Rail/Dublin Bus/Luas
Iarnród Éireann have already made limited moves into integrated ticketing which proves our point. It is possible to get a Luas and Dublin Bus Heuston Dublin City Centre transfer on any rail ticket, more information can be found on our ticketing page. You can also get a ticket that covers travel on bus and rail as well as bus and Luas.
Luas + Rail tickets are also available but in true integrated style they are only available from Iarnród Éireann not from Veoila the Luas operator. Rail Users Ireland has written to Veoila to ask why this is the case and why the availability of such tickets are not even listed on the Luas website, while Veoila agreed with our comments they have taken no action.
It's possible, if we can persuade the bureaucrats to stop wasting taxpayers' money and focus on something that actually works for public transport users.