The Gold Coast is the scene of the first major trial of the Queensland Government's $371 million world-class Smart Ticketing project, celebrated with the launch of new-look First Nations artwork on tram station validators and a G:link tram.
The trial and artwork coincides with the sixth anniversary of the G:link, which began 20 July 2014.
Field testing has commenced with 18 new ticketing validators installed at three Gold Coast tram stations as part of the first step of customer trials, wrapped in the distinctive artwork by Quandamooka artist Elisa Jane Carmichael.
Head of TransLink Matt Longland said remaining G:Link stations would all be updated with new, sleeker stylish state-of-the-art validators, with larger and brighter screens. Mr Longland said they would ultimately provide customers with more contactless ways to pay for their travel, including credit cards and smart devices.
"Gold Coast tram commuters are the first to see and use the new Smart Ticketing equipment," he said.
"During initial trials commuters have been able to use their go cards on the new readers at Surfers Paradise North, Main Beach and Broadwater Parklands stations.
"But we are currently installing the new equipment across the entire light rail network.
"While customers can already use their go cards on the validators, TransLink's Smart Ticketing trials will ensure the new payment options of debit and credit cards, as well as smart phones and watches, are fully functional before making these options available to the public later this year."
Mr Longland said the launch of First Nations artwork as part of the Smart Ticketing project’s celebration of Queensland’s indigenous culture, included a full wrap on G:link tram number 15.
“The stunning new artwork will further welcome visitors to Queensland as we open our borders and see the return of tourists to the Sunshine State.”
Quandamooka Artist Elisa Jane Carmichael created the visual art to capture the rich and diverse Queensland landscape while paying respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage in Queensland.
"The art tells the story of the journey makers, the places they travel to and the land that connects us all. We all make a journey each day and I wanted to bring together a shared sense of connection, storytelling and reconciliation," said Ms Carmichael.
“We are travelling the pathways of those who have travelled before us. Many of the major highways, roads, rail lines and waterways are travelling routes for the First Peoples of the land.
“This artwork honours the footprints of our ancestors, guiding the way for travelling safely and caring for Country and the environment across Queensland.”
Mr Longland said Smart Ticketing would need to replace about 13,500 devices across the public transport network, from the validators seen on platforms, to the current on-board equipment used to touch on and off with a go card.
"Our focus is ensuring this new equipment is functional, accessible and user-friendly for everyone."
The G:link was chosen for the trial as the light rail network offered the ideal controlled environment for the testing of the statewide project, to be implemented from Coolangatta to Cairns by 2022.
"That means it will service one of the largest geographical areas of any ticketing system in the world," Mr Longland said.
"We are committed to delivering innovative public transport technology for all Queenslanders and this ticketing system will have the same system DNA as major cities like London, New York, Chicago and Boston.”
G:link 6th anniversary facts:
• G:link commenced operations on Sunday 20 July 2014 with the Stage 2 extension opening on Sunday 17 December 2017.
• More than 50.3 million paid passenger trips have been completed in six years of operations.
• Each of the 18 G:link trams now travel approximately 100,000 kilometres per year.
• More than 9 million kilometres in total have been travelled since tram testing begun in 2013 – that’s the equivalent of circumnavigating the earth 224 times.
• G:link operations supports more than 200 full-time local jobs.
• More than $900 million was spent with local contractors and suppliers during construction of Stage 1 and 2 of GCLR.
• GoldlinQ is currently undertaking a competitive tender process to appoint a construction contractor for the Stage 3 extension to Burleigh.
• Stage 3 will create up to 760 jobs during construction.