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5,000 volunteers set to join expanded SmartRider trial

Transperth is about to recruit another 5,000 Perth commuters to test the SmartRider electronic ticketing system, ahead of its introduction across the city's public transport network.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the expansion of the trial was a crucial step in delivering Australia's first fully-integrated, start-of-the-art smartcard public transport ticketing system.

The initial SmartRider trial, launched in October, involved about 2,000 commuters in a control group and, as a result of that testing, improvements were made to the system's software and hardware.

Ms MacTiernan said she postponed the full introduction of SmartRider by three months because it was important to get everything right for commuters.

"We now are at a stage where we want to increase the pressure on the new SmartRider infrastructure to test the network more rigorously," she said.

"Transperth will now treble the size of the control group by sending an electronic invitation to 26,000 registered members of the TravelEasy email information service."

The Minister urged TravelEasy members to consider being among the 5,000 commuters needed for the expanded trial of the ticketing system.

"At the end of the testing, we will reimburse each user for the cost of all fares and card fees incurred during the trial," she said.

A computer microchip and aerial is embedded in every SmartRider card, allowing the system to track each journey and to calculate the lowest fare.

"The smartcard system will improve security at railway stations, as well as reducing fare evasion," Ms MacTiernan said.

Subject to each stage of testing progressing smoothly, the Minister said SmartRider was due to go 'live' across Perth's public transport system, including trains, buses and ferries, by the end of April.

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