A financial audit has revealed that the subsidy paid to ACTION Buses by the ACT Government was nearly $7m over budget in 2010-11, after the widespread failures of the Wayfarer ticketing equipment that was retired last year.
Travelers rode the buses for free as a result of ticket machines being out of service, with up to $5m in revenue lost. This amount was ten times more than previously thought.
The net cost of services for 2010-11 was $91m, with $84m contributed by taxpayers, up from the budgeted $77m. $20m in fares were collected from passengers, $3m less than the previous years.
When the MyWay smartcard ticketing system began use on 7 March 2011, passengers were able to use the new smartcard or their existing Wayfarer Magnetic tickets for a transition period that ended on 10 April. However, with a large number of Wayfarer ticket machines out of service and no replacement parts available, commuters could regularly board their bus for free by showing their magnetic ticket to the bus driver.
The report also identified issues with ACTION’s procedures for cash handling and spare parts management.
Executive Director of TAMS Paul Peters told ABC News that the directorate was increasing spare parts audits, and praised the MyWay system
“We’re very, very happy with how MyWay’s been picked up by the Canberra community and how it’s been functioning. So there’s no concerns of lost revenue with MyWay at all,” he said.
“We have a contractor in place to maintain the system. Regular checks, audits, on how the system is functioning, regular reports and we’re very happy with how it’s going.”