ERG maintains the pace in Europe

West Australian smart card specialist ERG has chalked up its fourth European contract in the space of a month in the form of a $A6 million deal in Norway. At the same time, the company has gone live with a $A1.5 million pilot for a transport ticketing system in South Wales.

In Norway, ERG has entered contract negotiations for a ticketing system for buses and ferries under the control of Stor-Oslo Lokaltrafikk (SL), which administers the Akershus county public transport system. The contract requires that the ERG system be interoperable with systems to be implemented by the Norwegian State Railways and the city of Oslo, in both of which ERG is a prequalified participant.

Peter Fogarty, chief executive of ERG, said the company will now begin developing the specifications in consultation with Stor-Oslo Lokaltrafikk before designing and implementing the contactless smart card system.

A spokesman for SL said the ERG implementation will deliver sophisticated management capabilities as well as a smart card ticketing system. "The new system will provide us with information which will enable us to review travel patterns to ensure that we are providing the best service we can to passengers," he explained. "The introduction of contactless smart cards will help to ensure the correct tickets are issued and improve profitability."

Fogarty said the contract was a significant achievement by ERG and was "strategically very important."

In South Wales ERG has gone live with a demonstration project known as the SWIFT smart card scheme covering the Caerphilly-to-Cardiff public transport corridor. The project was funded by a grant from the National Assembly.

ERG has outsourced the card issuing, card management, transaction processing and call centre operations to Prepayment Cards, a company that was established in the UK by ERG in league with three large UK transport operators and Sema Group.

A spokesman said the SWIFT scheme will be the first in the UK to conform to the principles put forward by the Integrated Transport Smart Card Organisation, which was established to develop technology specifications that make possible interoperable, multi-mode public transport.