The signing of a contract to deliver an integrated super transport ticket for Auckland marks a significant milestone for many involved in the project, including Bell Gully as legal advisers.
This month the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, in conjunction with its partner Thales and its funders the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Auckland Regional Council, signed the contract introducing Auckland and New Zealand's first, true multi-modal transport ticket. The system will mean passengers will be able to use one smartcard ticket seamlessly between public transport trains, buses and ferries.
Bell Gully was first approached nearly 10 years ago by the Auckland Regional Council to advise on the idea of deploying a smartcard-based integrated fares system and the project began in earnest about two years ago with interest being sought from potential international and New Zealand suppliers.
On 7 December 2009, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), signed a 12-year project agreement valued at $47 million with a consortium of Thales, a French multi-national systems, space and defence company, Octopus, a Hong Kong company that introduced the world's first multi-modal contact-less smartcard, Transfield Services and BNZ.
Bell Gully partners Dean Oppenhuis, Tom Bennett, Simon Watt, Ralph Simpson and Hugh Kettle advised on all aspects of the project, including procurement and drafting and negotiating contracts. They were assisted by Bell Gully lawyers Mark Flaherty, Jessie Parker, Andrew Dentice, Nick Laing, Sam O'Malley and Jessica Hooper.
The firm also acted for the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), which will seek to use parts of the Auckland system for a national integrated ticketing approach over time, and continues to jointly advise NZTA and ARTA on proposed contract arrangements between them to cement the national approach.
The Auckland smartcard project is arguably the most complex technology project undertaken in New Zealand in recent times and is being described as an historic event in the development of the country's transport infrastructure.