Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has partnered with Cubic Transportation Systems Ltd., a global supplier in the ticketing industry to design and implement the National Ticketing Solution for public transport across Aotearoa New Zealand.

The National Ticketing Solution is a convenient, reliable and cost-effective solution aimed at providing more ways for customers to pay for public transport.   

Customers will be able to choose what payment method works best for them. They will be able to pay for public transport using contactless debit or credit cards, as well as digital payment methods like Apple Pay or Google Pay, while still offering the option of using a pre-paid transit card. 

The NTS will increase people’s ability to travel safely, easily and independently, leading to more people using buses, rail and ferries more often.

The National Ticketing Solution project aims to improve public transport for New Zealanders through a standardised approach to paying for public transport which will provide a common customer experience no matter where you are in the country.

The first pilot will begin in 2024 in Canterbury with all other regions transitioned to the NTS by 2026.

The National Ticketing Solution partners are Auckland Transport, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Waka Kotahi, and a Regional Consortium of ten medium and smaller councils that currently use the Bee Card. Those councils are Northland Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Gisborne Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Nelson City Council, Otago Regional Council, and Invercargill City Council. 

Media release from the Hon. Michael Wood, Minister of Transport(external link)

Frequently asked questions

  • Who is involved?

    Greater Wellington Regional Council, Auckland Transport, Environment Canterbury, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and a Regional Consortium of ten medium and smaller councils are all involved, to ensure both national and regional concerns and interests are captured. 

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  • How does it work?

    Customers tag on and tag off each public transport service they use. The tags are all assessed at the end of the day and the best value fare applied based upon the travel undertaken.  Customers are invoiced at the end of the day.

    It’s important to use the same card every time you tag, to ensure that you get the best fare possible. Using different cards means the system will see two different “accounts” and charge differently (potentially resulting in the customer being over-charged).

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  • How will I be charged?

    Back-office technology (which is shared between participating organisations) will calculate the best fare based on where you tag on and off, combining your trips throughout the day to consider daily/weekly fare caps.

    Once the best possible fare is worked out, the funds will be debited your bank account that is connected to the card you used, but only at the end of each day.

    If you use a pre-paid transit card, the funds will be taken at the end of the day, with caps applying beforehand.

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  • What if I use public transport concessions?

    People will need to register the card they wish to use for travel before the system can add a concession, and they will need to validate their entitlement either online or through a customer contact centre. Concession (such as SuperGold card or student card) is applied to your account before you travel. This can be done by registering your concession card or attaching this to the bank card or transit card that you intend to use for travel on public transport.

    You’ll always need to carry your concession card when you travel in case you’re required to show it when on board.

    Where a SuperGold user travels outside off-peak times, then they will be charged for that travel at normal adult fares. Customers travelling in this way will no longer need to pre-pay for travel to cover any possible peak usage – we see this as a benefit to many customers. 

    Internationally concessions are generally not supported on bank issued cards so introducing this in New Zealand is a positive move as it makes the travelling easier for all transport users. 

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  • Does that mean I need an account or to register?

    There are benefits to registering an account. For example, and like today’s systems, for a customer to use a concession, they must register an account. 

    The system will create a transport account to track travel for each different contactless card used on the system. This account will only indicate to us, an account number for that specific card (ie no details about who the traveller is, where they travelled, or what type of card was used will be provided within the system, its merely a number).

    By default, customers will be charged for an adult fare. You will need to adjust your fare type, eg student or child when you register your account.

    If you wish to see your travel history, correct journeys, or register for a concession, you’ll need to register a secure account which will be linked to your card. The process to do this will be quick and easy and can be done online or via a contact centre.

    For those choosing to use a transit card, registration isn’t necessary but if you lose your card, we won’t be able to transfer credit or cancel it.

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  • Why do we need a national ticketing solution?

    Easy-to-use and convenient public transport ticketing is a key part of the customer experience. Customers are increasingly expecting that the way they pay for public transport will be tailored to their needs and mirror the way they interact with most other services.

    Current public transport ticketing and payment systems in New Zealand vary in capability and customer experience across buses, ferries, and rail. To encourage public transport as the preferred travel choice for more people, more often, we must invest in modern technologies to improve the customer experience.

    Customer expectations about how payments can be made for public transport is changing as Kiwis compare our transport service to other public transport networks around the world. Our current fare collection systems and payment methods nationally, present barriers to people using public transport.

    At a high level, the National Ticketing Solution supports the Government’s goals toward safer and less congested roads, reducing emissions, as well as supporting healthier lifestyles. It will also help to improve access to travel options and make public transport more affordable.

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  • Who will do what between my regional council and the national transport authority?

    Public Transport Authorities will set fares for their regions, decide on what travel products will be available, and will maintain all control over routes and services. Customer interactions with the ticketing system will be with the customer’s regional council. Over time customers will benefit from a consistent national customer experience anywhere they travel in NZ once the new system has been rolled out and is operational. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, with input from participating Regional Council’s will manage the operations of the system to support regional councils to focus on the customer and delivering the best customer experience. 

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  • How do we know the technology is good/will work?

    The open loop or account-based technology is not new technology, it is now in use across the world on public transport systems with London being one of the first to implement the same kind of payment system in 2013. Other cities such as Sydney, Chicago, Singapore, and Portland have also launched similar systems. 

    South-east Queensland introduced account-based ticketing (which is the same as NZ will implement) and contactless card payments in 2020. They have some things in common with us, as it is a single solution for different transport operators, covers a large geographic area, has a similar patronage profile and a similar population.

    Learnings from over the world have all been considered throughout the life of this project.

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  • How is my data being kept safe?

    The new system only files a secure account number attached to your bank issued card (if paying by contactless methods) and/or the information you provide upon registering.

    Legal requirements are in place to ensure that any information the system collects is kept securely.

    Data provisions have been considered throughout the procurement and compliance with all NZ govt data and privacy laws are being complied with.  Collection of individuals private data will be on a consent basis with clear guidelines about how it will be used. Storage of the data has been subject to rigorous testing through the procurement process. 

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has recently gathered some research on the preferred payments methods on public transport to help inform early work on a national public transport ticketing solution.

National Ticketing Research – April 2021 [PDF, 6.3 MB]


More information

Media enquiries

Andrew Knackstedt
Media Manager
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
Mobile: 021 276 3222
Email: Andrew.Knackstedt@nzta.govt.nz

Project partners

Waka Kotahi | Greater Wellington Regional Council, Environment Canterbury | Auckland Transport | Regional Consortium