Snappy card speeds Wgtn bus riders' journey

Last updated 00:36 21/04/2008

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Bus passengers will get a 20 per cent discount on fares if they use a new electronic payment card instead of cash to pay for travel in Wellington from June.

Called Snapper, the system is expected to speed up travel by cutting down time passengers and drivers spend fumbling for change.

It also heralds the start of a smart payment revolution that could mark a new stage in Kiwis' love affairs with eftpos.

Thanks to a tie-up with ANZ National Bank, shops will be able to accept Snapper as payment for everyday items.

The reloadable cards, which will store up to $300 on an embedded microchip, will also be available in the form of a small stick that can be plugged into a computer and "topped up" by credit card.

Unlike traditional bank cards, which store information on a magnetic stripe and need to be swiped, Snapper cards need only be "tapped" against a reader to make a payment.

There is no need for a pin number, and payment can be made in a fifth of a second.

According to Snapper's website, the cards will cost $15 and there will be a 25c charge to top them up in shops.

The optional Snapper sticks and special chargers that can top up cards at home will cost $25.

Snapper is being tested by 200 passengers on route 17 to Karori.

Much of the technology behind Snapper was developed in Petone, by information technology company Eyede.

Snapper Services general manager Charles Monheim said talks would be held with Greater Wellington regional council to see if Snapper could also be used on trains.

NZ Bus chief executive Bruce Emson said passengers would still be able to pay with cash, but he expected they would quickly see Snapper's benefits. "This is providing Wellington with the service and technology all the best cities in the world enjoy."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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