QUEENSLAND’S ‘SMART TICKETING’
Many long-time readers of TOTT News will be familiar with our coverage of plans to radically alter how Australians access trains, buses, ferries and other public transport across the country.
To this end, the state of Queensland is now proceeding with their plans to do just that.
New ticketing services are now installed at select Queensland stations, designed to accept MasterCard, AMEX and smart payment methods, in addition to the existing Go Card system.
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.
The technology is expected to be rolled out across Queensland completely over the next three years, creating a single ticketing system from Cairns to Coolangatta.
“As we continue to develop the smart ticketing system, we hope to introduce more ways for commuters to be able to pay for their trip,” said Mark Bailey, Queensland’s Transport Minister.
“As part of the ongoing trial, commuters will simply have to touch their MasterCard, AMEX or smart device to the ticketing machine before hopping on board a tram, and tapping off when they depart.”
Matt Longland, head of Queensland’s TransLink, said other payment networks were expected to join.
“We’re getting a world-class system that has the same DNA as in London, Chicago and Vancouver and is configured to accept all major card types and chips,” Longland said.
“So far, Mastercard and American Express have signed on early to support smart ticketing which is great and we are hopeful that other major card networks will follow in the future.”
The upgrade is part of the government’s $371 million statewide smart ticketing project, using technology supplied by Cubic Transportation Systems.
Cubic’s devices, which provides contactless payment technology to cities such as London, New York, and Chicago, is configured to accept all major card types and chips.
It has installed 156 of its new platform validators at 19 light rail stations along the coastal strip.
Their vision isn’t born from a goal to make life ‘easier’ or ‘convenient’ for citizens.
Rather, it is to slowly build a key component of Australia’s biometric grid.
THE NEXT STEP: BIOMETRIC RECOGNITION
It may seem insignificant: Now you can pay for the train with your smartphone, what is the big deal?
Well, Cubic Corporation, the company initially behind the ‘Go Card’, will use this smart ticketing vision to eventually enable passengers to pay their fares in a more ‘seamless, efficient way’.
How will they achieve this?
The aim is to have card-operated gates eventually be replaced by machines which scan an individual’s eyes or the unique pattern of veins in the palm of their hand.
That’s right, 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 this phase of the plan is complete.
This was all originally detailed during the Australian Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Summit in 2017, held by ITS Australia, with the theme of ‘Transforming Transport’ bringing together transport systems executives from across the world to discuss the latest in ‘ITS technologies’.
Executives from Cubic used the summit to explain their plans for trials of biometric identification systems in Queensland, demonstrating new transport platforms to an invite-only audience.
It was revealed soon after that the new biometric system will begin based on a “one transport account” model (or ‘contactless payment’), allowing passengers to use credit or debit cards, smartphones, Apple watches and other devices to pay for trains via Bluetooth recognition.
After this, the later stages of the project will include a shift to facial or palm recognition.
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.
Yet another plan that we have been warning about for years rearing its ugly head.
This is happening in other states as well, including Sydney’s ‘Opal Card’ replacement.
Think this is all a ‘conspiracy theory’? Let’s not forget that facial recognition systems are already active on Gold Coast networks following the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Queensland’s Privacy Commissioner slammed plans to introduce these systems as an “unprecedented example of predictive policing, with parallels perhaps only in China and Russia.”
He was right. Biometric surveillance is a key aspect of Australia’s impending social credit system.
Following a successful trial of these ‘contactless payment’ stages in Queensland, Cubic Corporation says the reality of facial recognition in the public transport sector may not be too far away.
Hard at work to introduce more surveillance, and this isn’t the only ‘funny business’ they are up too.
The future of public transport might never look the same.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Picture this: The experts are right, and cars will become too expensive to maintain. Instead, large, interconnected public transport grids, monitor millions on a daily basis and ship them from the slums to smart city monoliths. From the realm of science fiction, this could indeed become a reality.
As this article is published, the Queensland government is already working on two separate business cases for futuristic 160km/h Fast Rail links in the state’s south-east.
The first business case is a proposed link between Maroochydore and Nambour on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. The second proposes a link between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Under the ‘Fast Rail concept’, conventional trains with ‘smart modifications’ would traverse railway tracks at speeds up to 160km/h, similar to Queensland’s Tilt Train speeds.
Who runs the conventional trains? QLD Rail and Translink, now with the help of Cubic.
Indeed, the efforts of the rail industry should not be overlooked — and it doesn’t stop there.
Not to mention approximately 12,000 CCTV cameras already monitor the network, along with a team of Rail Squad Officers, Security and Emergency teams and Private Security Guards.
As we continue on the path towards Agenda 2030, many will begin to see just how the grid of human movement, interaction and ‘accountability’ will also radically shift.
An eagle may soon soar, but concerned citizens can stop the egg hatching NOW before it does.
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