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Integrated ticketing scandal continues

Some more detail on what we reported last week follows below. The nonsense of the Irish Government’s ill-conceived and over complicated integrated ticketing fiasco continues, with the solution to the delays now being to hire more consultants. Of course, why didn’t we think if it before!

Ian Kehoe of the Sunday Business Post writes:

The government plans to hire external consultants to speed up its long-delayed €50 million integrated ticketing system for public transport. The project is running four years late and €20 million over its original budget.

Consultants will be appointed to assist the Integrated Ticketing Project Board, a high-level body that was established by the Department of Transport in 2006. They will report directly to the independent chairman of the board, David O’Callaghan, who is a former secretary general of the Department of Defence.

The consultants will provide O’Callaghan with information and advice, and will also be required to review all board papers, according to a draft copy of the tender document seen by this newspaper. They will also assess any proposed modifications to the project, as well as providing technical reports and papers to O’Callaghan.

Plans for the integrated ticketing system originally commenced in 2002 with a €30 million budget, but the project was abandoned in 2005 by the Railway Procurement Agency. The Department of Transport subsequently set up the new board.

The board has since agreed that the system will be launched within the greater Dublin area in September 2009 on Dublin Bus, the Luas and Morton’s Coaches, a private transport operator. It will then be extended to Dart and commuter rail services within the following year.

It is expected that the full roll-out of the scheme within the greater Dublin area will be completed by the end of 2010. Earlier this year, the secretary general of the Department of Transport, Julie O’Neill, told a Dáil committee that the project would be completed on time and on budget.

‘‘I can honestly say that, of all of the projects in my portfolio, this is the one to which I have probably given the most personal time,’’ O’Neill said.

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