Queensland’s public transport smart ticketing project has expanded

Train passengers in Brisbane’s north-west suburbs will soon have the option to ditch their Go Cards, with the state government’s ‘smart ticketing system’ expanding from the Gold Coast.

Network integration of smart technology.
Photo: FVN
Another expansion on the QLD rail network.


Go Cards will no longer be needed for some Queenslanders to take public transport, with a trial of bank-card-based travel to extend to Brisbane’s north-west suburbs.

New readers will be trialled on Brisbane’s Ferny Grove train line from next week.

The new gates at Ferny Grove.
Photo: TBT

Go Cards will still be accepted, but passengers will also have the option to tap on and off with their smartphones and watches, along with Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards.

Queensland Transport Minister, Mark Bailey, said it would allow visitors to Queensland to use public transport without having to buy a Go Card.

During the trial period, the new methods of payment would only apply to adult trips.

Once fully operational, concession passengers wanting to use the new methods of payment will need to set up an account linked to their preferred credit or debit account.

“So, if you got a smartwatch, you might have credit card or debit card, or a lot of people crossing using their mobile phones or their iPhones, whatever you feel comfortable with, you link it,” Bailey said.

“The thing that you carry with you most often is probably what you’ll choose.”

TOTT News has been watching this program since it was first announced in 2017.

A project that will completely integrate smart technology into the public transport network.


The new payment system, which was introduced on the Gold Coast light rail network in 2020 (along with facial recognition cameras), is similar to the ones seen in Sydney and London.

Beginning at inner-city train stations, transport departments have long planned to expand the prepaid contactless payment system to buses, ferries and light rail, upon a successful initial roll-out.

Phase 1 proved accepted by the masses.
Photo: TBT

It was announced that Cubic Transportation Systems, a business unit of Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB), will be joining the project via a TransLink contract to replace the current Go Card from 2019.

This group is responsible for the biometric Multimodal Transport Ecosystem (AIMES) in Melbourne.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said, once fully rolled out, the system would be in place across the state, making it the largest such integrated system in the world.

“For instance, just to bring it onto the south-east Queensland bus system, we’ll need 131⁄2 thousand installations,” he said.

“This is an epic program and to unite all these different disparate systems into one system takes a bit of time.”

Part of $371 million project, this is the first phase of a plan that will eventually see citizens access public transport via facial and vein biometric recognition methods.



The first phases of the program include passengers to use credit or debit cards, smartphones, Apple watches and other devices to pay for trains via Bluetooth recognition.

However, the later stages of the project are likely to include a shift to facial or palm recognition, known in industry circles as “gateless gateline technology“.

The next generation system began in the United Kingdom.

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

Slowly, but surely, this phase of the technology will reach Queensland shores.

The state government had initially planned to have the scheme phased in throughout Queensland by the end of this year, a target that looked unlikely as the Ferny Grove trial was announced.

Mr Bailey defended the delay, citing international supply chain issues as a major logistical challenge.

“We’re dealing with Cubic here, who are an international company and they’ve put it in elsewhere and they’ve done it very well,” he said.

I never thought I would be happy to hear about international supply issues!

Let’s hope this program is delayed as possible.


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