Greencard targets fraud risk

School bus services on Tasmania’s urban fringes are set to get an electronic ticket system aimed at accountability

Greencard targets fraud risk
Greencard targets fraud risk

By David Goeldner | January 12, 2012

Tasmania’s student transport electronic ‘Greencard’ system is about to be rolled out to the state’s urban fringes, aimed at reducing the risk of fraud and enhancing the auditability of the school bus contract system.

The Greencard system currently operates within Tasmania’s larger urban centres within the Government-run Tasmania Metro network, but will be introduced to a further 140 privately-contracted vehicles over the next few months.

The operators directly affected by the roll-out being undertaken by WA-based IT company Black Box Control are only those that carry students into the major centres of Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, and charge a fare, or a portion of a fare.

"There are 272 contracts in the state where there is no fare paid, and the system won’t apply," TasBus General Manager Geoff Lewis says.

The student Greencard is a validation system that operates like a credit card.

"It’s like a credit card that will tap on the Black Box Control reader and record the student number on the bus," Lewis says.

"For concession passengers they will be fine as they will walk on the bus and tap the card, but for paying students, they have to buy a ticket from the operator and also tap the card."

This is where some uncertainty has surfaced among urban fringe operators, not sure of how the system is meant to operate, and what the drivers’ responsibility will be.

Lewis recently undertook a regional tour of Tasmania’s membership, explaining the system and the affected operators’ obligations with Greencard.

"Operators need to make sure that their drivers will be swiping the card, but at the moment you need to make sure the operators are also selling a ticket," he says.

Lewis says the system is based on ‘auditability’.

"The Government has no auditability, and at the moment a driver could fictitiously put tickets into the system which could be claimed on – but we have no evidence that this has happened," he says.

Lewis says the idea for the student swipe-style Greencard has been discussed for the past few years.

"It’s unlikely to be in place by the start of school term, but will be phased in sometime early this year," he says.

"The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) have advised us they will rely on data that operators will manually collect for the first year."

Lewis says DIER realises it’s a big change and both students and operators need to get used to it.

"So there will be a phase in period, but if the cards aren’t swiped the operators won’t get paid," he says.

Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim says the first student Greencards for use on urban fringe fare charging services will be issued free of charge.

"Students who already have a Greencard can continue to use the one they have and do not need to apply for another one," he says.

McKim says affected students without a Greencard need to apply to DIER.

He says families or individual students holding Centrelink Health Care cards or other relevant Australian Government concession cards will continue to be eligible for free travel to and from school.

"As well as introducing greater fairness and consistency to student bus fares, it is important that we continue to take advantage of smart technology to give students quick and easy access to buses," McKim says.

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