Queensland announces trials to replace Go Card with facial recognition

The end of Queensland’s ‘Go Card’. Photo: Supplied

Public transport commuters in Queensland will be able ‘to use their faces as a ticket to board trains and buses’ in the near future, after it was announced on Thursday that trials will commence to replace the current ‘Go Card’ digital network with facial recognition technology.

Cubic Corporation, the company initially behind the ‘Go Card’, will trial the use of biometric identification technology to enable passengers to pay their fares in a ‘seamless, efficient way’, with card-operated gates to eventually be replaced by machines which scan an individual’s eyes or the unique pattern of veins in the palm of their hand.


The 2017 Australian Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Summit was held in Brisbane last week by ITS Australia, with the theme of ‘Transforming Transport’, bringing together intelligent transport systems executives from around the world to discuss the latest in ‘ITS technologies’

It was announced in the lead up to the conference that Cubic Transportation Systems, a business unit of Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB), will be joining to ‘discuss the importance of integrating systems to improve efficiency in citywide transportation’.

Cubic is currently one of three international companies vying for the TransLink contract to replace the current Go Card from 2019, and is responsible for the biometric Multimodal Transport Ecosystem (AIMES) in Melbourne.

Executives from Cubic used the summit on Thursday to explain their plans for trials of biometric identification systems in Queensland developed in the contract race, demonstrating new transport management platform to an invite-only audience.

During the presentation, it was revealed that the new biometric system will begin based on a “one transport account” model (or “contactless payment” overseas), allowing passengers to use credit or debit cards, smartphones, Apple watches and other devices to pay for trains via Bluetooth recognition, with the later stages of the project to include a shift to facial or palm recognition.

The next generation system, currently in the beginning stages in the United Kingdom, is yet another example of Australia’s rapidly increasing shift towards biometric identification technology, following a number of announcements in industries such as schools, air travel, and hotels to move towards facial recognition in the near future.

It was announced earlier in the year that all passports in Australia will be replaced with facial recognition in a move towards automated travel by 2020, and that Australian schools are now implementing biometric identification technology to keep records of students.

Furthermore, Queensland’s Privacy Commissioner slammed plans to introduce facial recognition systems at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as an “unprecedented example of predictive policing, with parallels perhaps only in China and Russia.”

In the latest announcement, scanners would trigger red lights or vibrating floor pads when someone has failed to pay and security could be on hand at hot spots to nab would-be fare dodgers.


Following a successful trial of the ‘contactless payment’ stages in Queensland, Cubic Corporation says the reality of facial recognition in the public transport sector may only be a few years away after that, as their advanced transport management platform would give agencies an integrated, multimodal view of what is happening on their networks.

This is done by enabling the management of all customers’ assets such as road, train, light rail, bus and ferry through a single open platform and shared operational view.

Beginning at inner-city train stations in Brisbane, transport departments will expand the prepaid contactless payment system to buses, ferries and light rail upon a successful initial roll-out, according to Cubic Corporation.

Chris Bax, the Vice President of Intelligent Transport Systems Global Strategy for Cubic Corporation, spoke with the media this afternoon about the new trials:

“We are trialing it in the lab at the moment. We have the current system where people tap a smart card down to as quick as we’re going to get it.

Government agencies have numerous – and often unconnected – systems that perform a number of standalone functions and produce a lot of untapped data.

Through integrating these systems we can make transportation planning more efficient and effective, while greatly improving the customer experience.

As our cities become busier and busier, we have to look at how we can get people through stations quicker. One way is to look at whether we need a gate that has to open.

Biometric technology still has a way to go but it is developing quickly. And there are privacy issues to be worked through.

We are revolutionising transport payment systems to make them simple.”

So far, ‘more than a billion trips’ on London’s Underground and rail system have been paid using contactless methods, with whatever payment form passengers used linked back to a personal ID token.

A real-world trial of facial recognition is planned within the next year, most likely in the UK, before being rolled out in cities around the world. Cubic Corporation executives have noted they will be studying the UK development stages closely during the transition.

TOTT News has contacted Cubic Corporation press representatives to find out more details about the program, including commencement dates and locations, and will keep everyone updated on any future developments when more information is available.


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Cubic Corporation press release for ITS 2017:

Facial recognition to see the end of Queensland’s ‘Go Card’:

Facial recognition to replace passports in radical security overhaul at Australian airports:

Commonwealth Games – QLD Privacy Commissioner slams facial recognition plans as ‘unprecedented’:

Australian schools are now implementing biometric identification technology:

For more articles on biometric identification technology, visit our intelligence archive:

Cubic Corporations trials facial recognition technology which could replace your public transport Go Card:








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  1. Facial recognition set for Sydney transport network | The Crazz Files - July 16, 2019

    […] 2017, we reported that Cubic Transportation was set to run ‘proof of concept’ trials of palm vein scanning and facial recognition in Brisbane, with hopes of replacing the Go […]

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