- Author: Nick Rankin
- Created: 26-07-2013 08:35
- Modified: 06-06-2020 13:01
In 2011, an integrated ticketing system, known as Leap was introduced into Ireland. The “Leap Card”, a RFID enabled chargeable card allows customers to pay their fares for multiple different transport operations, as well as receiving a discount for using the service.
The Leap cards’ initial launch was for the most part a success, largely due to the fact both CIE (Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann and Bus Eireann) as well as Veolia (Luas) agreed to implement the system, providing more flexibility for the commuter and transport user alike. Certain transport operations were slower to implement Leap ticketing support, however, the system was widely used and appreciated during the launch period, largely compared to the city of London’s Oyster card at the time.
Interestingly, the idea of integrated ticketing in Ireland is not new! In 1994, Telecom Eireann in conjunction with CIE (Dublin Bus), Irish Car Parks Ltd and National Toll roads together trialled an integrated ticketing system, known as The Gaudi (Generalised and Advanced Urban Innovations) Project. The Gaudi project, a European Community (now European Union) programme, aimed to improve management and the improvement of urban mobility.
The Dash Card was introduced
This is an example of the Dash Card, issued to participants taking part in the trial.
In 1994, Irelands Gaudi trial was introduced, with 1, 540 participants for the three month trial period in Ireland. The “Dash Card”, as pictured to the right was a smart card equipped with a 2KB chip of EEPROM memory powered by the Schlumberger ME2000 chipset. These chips, unlike chips found on Callcards, were rechargeable, and could be topped up using official machines.
The Dash card, a demonstration of how an integrated payment system (known back then as an “electronic purse”) could be introduced for different services, was launched providing easy payments for four different services:
- Telecom Eireann: 20 Payphones were installed next to the route 39 bus, the Dash card could be used as a Callcard
- Dublin Bus: Along the route 39
- Irish Car Parks Ltd: Automated payments for the Marlborough Street car park
- National Toll Roads: Automated payments for the Westlink Toll Bridge (now using eflow technology!)
This image shows a Dash card reader installed on a Dublin Bus.
The Dash card trials were very limited, with only 20 buses on one route, 20 Payphones, 500 car parking spaces and one toll bridge included. Even though the trial had limited reach, 10, 014 transactions were recorded to have been made post trial spanning the multiple different services. Interestingly, nearly half of all Dash card trial users, also used their Dash card across multiple services.
Upon introduction to the Dash card trial, participants were given a Dash card loaded with complementary credit that they could use on any of the services. Ultimately it was recorded only 16% of trial users recharged their Dash cards, at any of the four assigned retail outlets. While this was a low amount, and may have contributed to the trials final conclusion, many of these trial customers may have been Callcard collectors, who received the cards not for use but for collection purposes. Post trial feedback which was returned was generally quite favourable, with 87% stating the system was easy to understand and 89% saying it was easy to use.
Ultimately, due to latency issues regarding processing of some transactions and the cost associated with fully implementing the dash system the trial was ended. Even nowadays the Dash cards are still quite sought after by collectors, due to their use as a “top up” Telecom Eireann Callcard.