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  City of ADELAIDE

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia with a population of 1.26 million inhabitants spread over an area of about 70 kms from North to South and 30 kms East to West. Its public transport provides 70 millions trips yearly with about 1000 buses, one line of tramway and a suburban railway network. All these means of transportation are organized in a multi modal system to allow passengers to transfer freely between trains, tramways and buses.
The bus network includes a fast route on dedicated tracks (O'bahn) that goes from city centre to northern suburbs. This technology allows to use the same vehicles both in the city and on the fast track. The ram line goes from the Entertainment centre to Glenelg sea resort. The 4 suburban train lines are all ending at Adelaide central station. These lines are currently being fully renovated and electrified.

The ticketing system has just been replaced (11/2012) with a state-of-art system using smart card and magnetic tickets. Smart cards are the contact less Desfire cards latest generation and magnetic tickets are Edmonson HiCo and high density. Keeping magnetics has allowed to provide for a gentle transition between the previous system (LoCo and low density magnetic tickets) and the new system. It also gives a very flexible and efficient way of selling various types of tickets on-board. At time I am writing this article, legacy tickets are still valid and processed by the new system (about 2% of validations). The fare structure has remained the same, it is a flat fare allowing to transfer between the various transport services during two hours. It takes into account peak and off-peak periods and passenger categories. Main difference with the previous system is the replacement of Multitrips by Stored value that are allowing more possibilities of dynamic pricing. Also access to discounted fares which was applying when purchasing a 10trips ticket at about $32.00 are now available even when recharging only $5.00 on the card. Passengers undertaking very short trips have not been forgotten and have access to 2SECTION fares allowing to travel along about 6 stops without transfer. Only one rule applies: validate when boarding any vehicle, simple for passenger and easy for inspectors to enforce the rules.

Purchasing a trip is available on board buses to the Driver, on board trains and trams on vending machines, at Info Centres, Metrocard agents, over the phone, through the web and vending machines. An automatic recharging function is also available by which you Metrocard gets topped up each time you reach a minimum value on your balance; following payment is then made through a direct debit on your bank account.

Adelaide railway station is the central knot of the suburban railway, its access is physically controlled by automatic barrier gates. This arrangement allows a 100% control out of 90% of the train patronage.

The overall system is driven by ATLAS system from Xerox, all pieces of equipment are also Xerox products. After only a few months of operation most of contractual performances were satisfied and for some pieces of equipment reliability figures were substantially better than expected. During the whole implementation process the project has not generated any unfavorable media attention: absolutely remarkable when you know Australian media.

We are now in the 11th month of operation with Metrocard and the number of validations made with Metrocard are above 85%: this is absolutely second to none when compared with number of other cities equipped with similar technology. Hence the fact that this is achieved without costly publicity or important discounts and no phasing out of the previous tickets.

The previous ticketing system lasted 1/4 of a century and was the very first large scale system based on magnetic tickets on board buses, trains and trams. Hope this new system lasts as much longer.


Please use the links hereafter to get further information.

Adelaide river Torrens

Useful links: ADELAIDE METRO Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure    
Last update 30/09/2013


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