Go Card malfunctions cost taxpayers

Michael Coombes, Staff writers

Three years after Go Cards were introduced in south-east Queensland, the system is still wracked by unreliability.

Almost one in ten card readers malfunction every month, costing taxpayers lost fare revenue.

However, Seven News has learned the private company responsible for the Go Cards is getting performance bonuses.

There are 20,000 card readers and ticket machines in south-east Queensland and when Go Cards were first introduced there were around 2,500 malfunctions each month.

That figure has slowly been brought down to just under 2,000 - a failure rate of nearly 10 per cent.

However, the system breakages are costing $2,000 a week in uncollected fares.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said taxpayers were footing the bill for those malfunctions.

"Ultimately it is the people of Queensland that are wearing this cost," Cr Quirk said.

And while taxpayers are footing the bill the company responsible is making money.

Minister for Transport Annastacia Palaszczuk defended the system.

"There are always going to be some issues but we've got mechanisms in place so that they are rectified as quickly as possible," she said.

Translink officers told Seven News that Cubic, the company that installed and operates the Go Card system, receives monthly bonus payments, if it meets reliability targets.

Translink CEO, Peter Strachan, said Queenslanders should be proud of the system.

"They have to deliver the benchmark of 99 per cent reliability on bus and on trains and they're doing that," he said.

However, that figure of 99 per cent reliability was not included in any of the thousands of documents released to Seven News, under freedom of information laws.

"We've got very high levels of accuracy coming through the system," Mr Strachan said.

Mr Strachan refused to explain the inconsistency between the figures obtained by Seven News, and his claim of 99 per cent reliability.

"We've got very high levels of reliability," he said.

Mr Strachan wouldn't reveal how much the bonus payments are costing taxpayers and the Minister claims, she doesn't know. Neither did the Lord Mayor.

"It is difficult to acknowledge that there should be a bonus paid in that circumstance," Cr Quirk said.