Key info

TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing payment system will deliver more options to pay for public transport across Queensland.

This is a Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) initiative to provide a payment solution for public transport that is affordable and able to adapt to future growth and technology.

The Queensland Government is investing $371 million into a new ticketing solution to provide customers with more choice in how they pay for public transport across Queensland.

While go cards and paper tickets will continue to be accepted, TransLink’s new ticketing solution will:

  • introduce new ways to pay, including contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones and other smart devices
  • upgrade existing ticketing equipment
  • make it easier for you to manage your account, via an enhanced website and app; and
  • be rolled out across all south east Queensland and 18 regional urban bus services by the end of 2022

TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing payment system will mean you will be able to access the network and pay for your travel using contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones, smart watches and other smart devices, as well as continuing to use current payment methods. Existing go cards and paper tickets will continue to be accepted.

TransLink’s Smart Ticketing system is currently moving into its testing and trial phase.

A series of trials will occur as part of a progressive rollout, resulting in the new system being fully implemented by 2022.

No, you'll still be able to use your go card as you currently do. TransLink’s Smart Ticketing system will provide more options to pay for public transport for those customers who wish to use them.

TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing payment system will securely store payment, travel history and other records in a centralised system, simplifying the account management process for customers.

It will also accept a wide range of payment options, making it easier for you to access the network and pay your fares by using contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones, smart watches and other smart devices. Current payment methods such as existing go cards and cash/paper tickets will continue to be accepted.

Customers who would like to travel anonymously can continue to purchase paper tickets or use an unregistered go card.

The current go card system is approaching the end of its lifespan and cannot support current customer needs and expectations.

Since go card was developed in 2003, technology has significantly advanced – smartphone credit cards, cloud computing and other smart devices were all introduced after the go card.

The new payment system will be implemented across all modes of public transport in the TransLink area of South East Queensland, Toowoomba, Townsville, Mackay and Cairns, and all qconnect urban buses in regional Queensland will be transitioned to new system by the end of the four year program.

The project will be delivered over the next three years. Detailed design, development and implementation planning is currently underway, with a series of trials taking paces last year. The new system will be progressively rolled out ahead of being fully implemented by the end of 2022.

Prior to any trials, we'll be in touch with our customers to ensure they can access the exciting new options.

TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing system will be progressively rolled out by 2022. A series of trials and pilots will be undertaken between 2020 and 2022. We will communicate with customers well in advance of the implementation to enable them to take advantage of new opportunities.

To deliver new payment options we need to upgrade ticketing equipment across the entire system as the existing ticketing equipment is nearing its end of technical life. Replacement across the entire network takes time.

The project team will oversee the design and implementation of the new system. This includes software development, hardware design and development, replacement and installation of nearly 13,000 fixed and more than 1200 on board devices, 24 busway stations, 35 ferries, 19 tram stations and 154 train stations. Our integrated network means that a significant amount of infrastructure needs to be in place and fully tested before we can switch on new payment options in each area and across each mode.

It is fully funded by the Queensland Government.

$371.1 million has been allocated to design, build and implement the system across Queensland.

Revenue from tickets is a key contributor to the cost of service delivery and infrastructure upgrades and helps ensure government can provide services across Queensland.

TMR has undertaken extensive research, preparation and engagement to plan and undertake the procurement of the new payment solution. All procurement activities were conducted in accordance with Queensland Government procurement principles to ensure a fair and open process to deliver the best possible outcome.

Local and international suppliers were invited to participate in the Expression of Interest for the new payment system through the Queensland Government QTenders portal.

The project team conducted a rigorous and robust multi-phased procurement process to select and negotiate the most suitable and cost effective outcome.

The successful supplier was selected following a robust, multi-year procurement process. The successful development, implementation and ongoing management of the payment solution will include significant local presence, using local workers and know-how.

The project team is currently undertaking testing and trials with our technology partner, Cubic Transportation Systems. Through this process we will identify issues to be addressed before progressing form technical testing to customer trials. We will expand the trial area and add more functionality to the system when we are happy that the system is performing as it needs to.

TMR has an online customer research panel called Transport Talk. It is an initiative to support us to better understand and connect with our customers. Participants of Transport Talk are invited to participate in a range of activities, including interviews, surveys, focus groups and co-design. If you would like to enquire about being a member of Transport Talk, please email TransportTalk@tmr.qld.gov.au.

Visit translink.com.au/smartticketing for more information – we’ll continue to update this project page as the project progresses.

For urgent feedback or questions please complete an online feedback form ​​​​

G:link trial

We are testing Smart Ticketing technology on new equipment to ensure it is fully functional before we roll it out across the Gold Coast Light Rail network. This testing will ensure the new equipment is capable of accepting go cards before we move onto testing new payment options including credit cards and debit cards.

We selected the Gold Coast Light Rail network as the first location in the TransLink network to trial Smart Ticketing equipment as a smaller percentage of our customers travel on the G:link each day compared to other modes of public transport.

We will be trialling and testing for a number of months from April 2020. More equipment and functionality will be added over several months as part of a progressive system trial.

The Smart Ticketing project is being delivered as a phased rollout, by mode, ensuring that each aspect of the system is operational and functioning correctly before the next phase is implemented.

This testing is proposed to occur in a safe and appropriate manner while the level of activity on the network is low. This allows our team to discreetly test and refine the system before we offer new Smart Ticketing options to customers.

You can use your go card in the same way you always have on the new ticketing equipment installed at Surfers Paradise North, Main Beach and Broadwater Parklands stations. No new payment options such as contactless credit or debit cards, smartphones or devices are available at this time.

New ticket validators have been installed across Surfers Paradise North, Main Beach and Broadwater Parklands stations to test new Smart Ticketing features ahead of further trials across the TransLink network.

You will see three new icons on Smart Ticketing validators. You will get a green tick if the tap is successful, a red cross if unsuccessful and an orange exclamation mark if there is something that requires your attention.

You can check your go card account online or call 13 12 30 as you would normally do if you think there was an issue with tapping on or off using one of the new Smart Ticketing validators.

Regional Queensland rollout

Yes. Existing ticketing systems will be replaced with the new payment system providing customers on urban buses in regional Queensland the same payment options as those in South East Queensland.

The first round of trials happened in regional Queensland in 2019. These provided a controlled environment for us to work on any tweaks that might be required before a bigger rollout in areas like South East Queensland.

Trial locations include Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Fraser Coast (Maryborough and Hervey Bay), Innisfail and Bowen.

Currently there are no plans to change existing fares in regional areas or to extend to prescribed school bus services.

The new payment system will be available across all of TransLink and qconnect’s existing regional urban public transport areas:

  • Airlie Beach and Proserpine
  • Bowen
  • Bundaberg
  • Cairns
  • Gladstone
  • Gympie
  • Hervey Bay
  • Innisfail
  • Kilcoy to Caboolture
  • Mackay
  • Maryborough
  • North Stradbroke Island
  • Rockhampton
  • Sunshine Coast Hinterland
  • Toowoomba
  • Townsville and Magnetic Island
  • Warwick
  • Yeppoon

The first round of trials happened in regional Queensland in 2019. These provided a controlled environment for us to work on any tweaks that might be required before a bigger rollout in areas like South East Queensland.

Trial locations include Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Fraser Coast (Maryborough and Hervey Bay), Innisfail and Bowen.

The regional trials provided us with an opportunity to test project elements as part of the project development process. Bus operator partners in the selected regional trial locations have new ticketing equipment (driver console units) installed on their bus fleet, as they continue to sell paper tickets to customers throughout the trial. The trial has also included an assessment of the viability of real-time information.

The next stage of the trial will take place in South East Queensland this year.

Regional urban bus services, operating as part of qconnect, will receive TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing solution. This includes qconnect operators who operate an integrated fleet with select school services.

qconnect operators who have their own ticketing system will have it replaced with the Smart Ticketing solution as part of the phased roll out.

No. The trials focus on the ticketing equipment and hardware as well as making sure that real-time information can be confidently provided to customers. 

The project rollout includes areas where TMR has current contracts to provide qconnect urban bus services.

The regional trial in Fraser Coast included a fare and zone review to make the network easier for customers to understand and access. Any further changes to existing fares and zones will be considered by TMR as part of periodical reviews.

The system will be able to support and offer the existing products and payment options in addition to enabling the new payment options such as contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones and wearable devices.

Real-time enables you to check actual times for when your bus will arrive, providing a more seamless public transport experience.

Real-time information is available for TransLink bus, train, ferry and tram services in South East Queensland and buses in Cairns.

As part of Smart Ticketing, real-time will be trialled and made available across all of TransLink's and qconnect's existing regional urban public transport areas in Queensland, including:

  • Airlie Beach and Proserpine
  • Bowen
  • Bundaberg
  • Cairns
  • Gladstone
  • Gympie
  • Hervey Bay
  • Innisfail
  • Kilcoy to Caboolture
  • Mackay
  • Maryborough
  • North Stradbroke Island
  • Rockhampton
  • Sunshine Coast Hinterland
  • Toowoomba
  • Townsville and Magnetic Island
  • Warwick
  • Yeppoon

Real-time is a prediction based on the vehicle's current GPS location which is then compared with the scheduled time. Real-time predictions are available for services operating within the next 60 minutes. These services display real-time predictions as a countdown. Services that are more than 60 minutes away will display their scheduled timetable.

To get real-time information about your service, check your stop or station page by:

Web: Visit our real-time stops and stations search and enter your location (stop/station/terminal name, stop ID or address). Services due to depart within the next 60 minutes will show a real-time countdown.

App: Download the MyTransLink app on to your smartphone, go to the 'Find stops' search and enter your location (stop/station/terminal name, stop ID or address). You can then save this stop for future use.

QR code: With your smartphone, view the printed timetable at your stop and scan the QR code displayed (if available) to go straight to real-time info.

Call: Ring our Contact Centre on 13 12 30 anytime.

Please note that real-time information is not currently available via the TransLink journey planner or MyTransLink app for Cairns, Mackay or Toowoomba services.

If real-time is not available, services may display their normal scheduled timetable. When this occurs, the word 'scheduled' will appear under the service's departure time.

Some trains may also show as 'cancelled' or 'skipped' or indicate a change to the platform. These instances may occur if the vehicle is impacted by delays, network connectivity issues or is required to travel outside the service's normal route.

As part of rolling Smart Ticketing out in Queensland, real-time will be trialled before it is available across all of TransLink's and qconnect's existing regional urban public transport areas.

We will be sharing local updates as soon as real-time is available in these areas. Visit the Smart Ticketing page or get in touch if you can't find the answer you're looking for.

We will be sharing local updates as soon as real-time is available in regional urban areas. Visit the Smart Ticketing page or get in touch if you can't find the answer you're looking for.

Ticketing options

TransLink’s new Smart Ticketing payment system will mean you will be able to access the network and pay for your travel using contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones, smart watches and other smart devices, as well as continuing to use current payment methods.

Existing go cards and paper tickets will continue to be accepted.

Contactless debit or credit cards, also known as pay wave, tap-and-go or tap-to-pay cards, contain a computer chip and antenna instead of the magnetic stripe on the back of traditional banking cards.

To complete transactions, the contactless cards communicates wirelessly with a payment terminal in a highly secure manner, mandated by international banking standards, using a technology called near-field communication, or NFC.

Yes, you will be able to travel on any concessions you are entitled to once the system is fully rolled out.

The system will be easy to log into and record your individual account requirements such as concession.

No. Funding for the payment system is not linked to public transport fares. Any changes to TransLink’s fares are considered independently by the Queensland Government.

You will still be able to use cash to pay for public transport by topping up your current go card account or purchasing a paper ticket.

The option to pay for travel using cash and paper tickets has been included in the smart ticketing system planning, but due to COVID-19 impacts, the TransLink network is currently cashless. The long term approach will be confirmed after the COVID-19 impacts have reduced.

Children can continue to travel with their current go card. If they have any of the new options, including smartphones and wearable devices, they will be able to use those too.

More details will be available closer to the implementation dates.

School services, that do not form part of the TransLink or qconnect networks, will not receive the Smart Ticketing solution.

Yes. If you would like to travel anonymously, you can continue to purchase paper tickets with cash, or use an unregistered go card to travel on public transport.

We are committed to ensuring a secure, privacy compliant payment solution.

As part of our commitment, we are working with Queensland Privacy Commissioner and other stakeholders to ensure the best outcome for customers, including ensuring customers will be able to travel anonymously – if they wish.

More information will be made available here as the detailed system design is finalised.

Yes, you will still be able to use your existing go card.

TransLink’s Smart Ticketing system will provide more options to pay for public transport for those customers who wish to use them.

Yes, you will still be able to use paper tickets.

The option to pay for travel using cash and paper tickets has been included in the system planning, but due to COVID-19 impacts, the TransLink network is currently cashless. The long term approach will be confirmed after the COVID-19 impacts have reduced.

Yes, our retail network will continue to support go card.

While go cards and paper tickets will continue to be available, new travel payment options will include other technology such as contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones and wearable devices – making it easier to catch public transport.

Yes. Existing concessions will continue, although there are expected to be opportunities to streamline and improve how concessions are applied.

The project does not include the review of fare prices, any changes to TransLink’s fares are considered independently by the Queensland Government and are not linked to the new payment system.

Any changes to TransLink or qconnect fares or zones are considered independently by the Queensland Government and are not linked to the new payment system.

Any changes to TransLink or qconnect fares are considered independently by the Queensland Government and are not linked to the new payment system.

Any changes to TransLink or qconnect fares are considered independently by the Queensland Government and are not linked to procurement of the new payment system.

Fare changes are considered independently by the Queensland Government and are not linked to the new payment system

New network equipment

No, customers will still need to tap on at the start of their journey and tap off at the end. It will be important to remember to remember to tap on and off with the same card or smart device.

Yes, the current devices on our network will be upgraded with new hardware that will support payment contactless debit and credit cards, smartphones, other smart devices and the existing go card.

TMR will work to ensure that the new devices are inclusive and accessible to all, including customers travelling on existing concession products.

New ticketing equipment has started to be rolled out across the all modes of public transport in South East Queensland and regional urban bus services and implementation will be completed by the end of 2022.

Most of the ticket validators and existing ticketing equipment will remain in the same location as they are now. They will only be moved if there are known issues with where they are currently located.

Yes, based on feedback from customers, we know there are issues with sunlight, light reflection, rain and moisture affecting the visibility of the screen and making it difficult for customers to see what is displayed on there. We have listened to the feedback and taken it into consideration for the new design.

The new ticket validator has been designed in accordance with Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Commonwealth Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and AS1428.2-1992 Design for access and mobility.

This enables customers with varying abilities, their families and their carers to fully participate in community life and eliminate discrimination.

TransLink Smart Ticketing.

Smart Ticketing brand

A dedicated Smart Ticketing project brand was developed to:

  • Create recognition of the Smart Ticketing project
  • Build interest, excitement and support for the new ticketing solution
  • Provide a platform to clearly differentiate project activities from whole of TransLink business
  • Ensure a strong focus for the project on delivering an innovative, accessible public transport payment system for Queensland.

The new Smart Ticketing system presented TMR the opportunity to explore a refreshed visual identity for TransLink since the brand was first established more than 16 years ago. The Smart Ticketing brand strategy aims to:

  • Ensure customer functionality and inclusivity remains front of mind and design at all times;
  • Ensure that new ticketing equipment stands out is easily identifiable;
  • Refresh current public perceptions of the TransLink brand whilst retaining the positive values and goodwill associated with the go card brand through a refreshed visual identity;
  • Deliver a brand representative of the state-of-the-art Smart Ticketing solution TransLink will deliver for Queenslanders; and
  • Determine customer support for a whole of TransLink brand refresh.

Inspired by the Cooktown orchid, the Smart Ticketing project brand was designed to embody Queensland’s vibrant personality and reflect the innovative, inclusive  ticketing solution the project will deliver for Queenslanders.

Market research was undertaken with a particular focus on identifying and testing colours to represent the Smart Ticketing project brand that would easily be identified on ticketing infrastructure by people with varying abilities including colour limitations.

It is critical that the Smart Ticketing project ensures people with varying abilities, including varying degrees of vision and colour impairment, can easily identify where to ‘tap’ cards and purchase tickets. Feedback has been received from customers that indicated the current ticketing infrastructure and equipment was difficult to locate as it didn’t ‘stand out enough visually’.

A colour palette based on existing global colour research for visibility and was inclusive of requirements within the rail corridor that excluded red and green as colours. The Queensland Cooktown Orchid was the inspiration for the signature colour.

The Cooktown orchid pink far out performed alternate colour options through market research testing with respect to gaining, maintaining and regaining customer attention. The brand’s pink colour palette was also the most accessible and inclusive colour for people with varying abilities to identify and locate, especially on ticketing infrastructure.

A group of customers of varied demographics and patronage participated in market research with external agency Clemenger BBDO.

Eye-line tracking technology was used to test participant’s time to focus, duration of focus and frequency of focus on the brand in three different colours.

Participants were also asked to provide prompted recall information and results could be drawn about effectiveness of the logo colour on ticketing equipment.

The Smart Ticketing brand is only to be used by the Smart Ticketing project.

 

Have a question that is not answered here?

Use our feedback form if you have a question, complaint or want to bring something to our attention about Smart Ticketing. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Visit feedback form

 

Want to know more about this project?

Visit the project page for more information about Smart Ticketing. This page will continue to be updated as Smart Ticketing is rolled out from Cairns to Coolangatta.

Visit project page