EDITORIAL: Go card, is it really needed?

By: Chris Smith

Why bring something new in when the old system works well as it is? The new Go card launched in

Why bring something new in when the old system works well as it is?

The new Go card launched in Brisbane promises to stream line public transport travel, but the only advantage it actually has is if you have registered the card and loose it, you don’t loose your money.

Maybe they should have just brought in weekly paper tickets in buses and ferries, it could have been cheaper and more advantageous to the public transport user.

Hi-tech public transport is all the rage but trying to bring it into existing systems is often met with chaos.

Sydney didn’t have much luck with their Tcard but Queensland’s smart card was renamed Go card and officially launched this week, with mixed opinion and success.

The cards are compact and the size of a credit card. Smart cards contain microprocessors and memory that allows the card to be programmed to accommodate various applications, including fare collection for the public transport system.

The theory behind the new systems is great. Prepaid tickets quicken the driver interaction with the passengers and speeds up the whole process because ticketing doesn’t need to happen onboard the bus or ferry, it probably doesn’t speed much up on the train however.

It also has the added benefit of providing information about travel patterns around the region, so the transport authority, or planning authority, can plan for future population growth and transport needs.

The Go card has its advantages and disadvantages compared to the weekly paper tickets (which you can’t get on TransLink buses anyway).

The help line operator says if you are going within the your nominated zones for instance to work and home, it is around the same weekly cost as the paper weekly ticket because after the sixth trip all other trips in the seven day period are then half the price.

But, if you are using the weekly paper ticket you pay a flat rate for all travel by bus, ferry or train in the zones you have paid for, for seven days, and this obviously includes the weekends.

So at the end of the day, if you are a heavy public transport user the paper tickets are the go, if you are work commuter only, Go card is on par with what you’ll be paying weekly for a paper ticket or a ten-trip saver (for Zone 5 and below).

But, if you are serious about public transport and using it, forget the weekly paper ticket, the Go card, the 10 trip saver and go for the three, six or 12 month tickets, that’s where you’ll be saving the most.

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