SmartRider bid denied

Petitioners Gary Wansbrough, David Robinson, Paul Hofman and Micheline Kechen.
Petitioners Gary Wansbrough, David Robinson, Paul Hofman and Micheline Kechen.

‘But if I were in Melbourne I could go into any 7/11 and get a ticket, and that surely puts more bums on train and bus seats,’ SmartRider sales applicant and Napoleon Street Newsagency operator Gary Wansbrough said.

The nearest SmartRider outlets are in Claremont or Fremantle and after daily requests for the service in Cottesloe, Mr Wansbrough organised a petition in February, asking his established business be an authorised outlet.

The newsagency is between Cottesloe train station and four Stirling Highway bus routes, while the Public Transport Authority says geography is a criterion for selecting a seller.

‘While it is acknowledged that Napoleon Newsagency may meet some of those requirements, TransPerth does not consider it to be a major transport hub,’ TransPerth regional bus services executive director Martin White said in his April refusal.

Mr White said credit to the swipe card could be added on buses, using the internet sales and automatic.

However, Roleystone to Cottesloe daily train commuter David Robinson said he could get credit in a Kelmscott chemist but not in Cottesloe, and it took up to five days to activate an internet-bought credit.

Petitioner Micheline Kechen said bus drivers often did not have the time or correct change for a SmartRider credit.

PTA spokesman David Hynes said he recognised Mr Wansbrough was ‘keen to capitalise on the extra traffic and resulting rub-off extra trade that a SmartRider facility might generate’, but it would be ‘irresponsible’ to ‘waste taxpayer dollars installing expensive equipment where it is not needed, primarily to benefit a privately-run business’.

Mr Hynes said the ‘assertion’ was based on sale and recharge facilities being the same, and most petitioners were students and seniors when both groups did not get got their SmartRiders from shops. He said top-up was available on 1300 buses, most train stations, online, by credit card and B-Pay, which could take five days for banks to process and 24 hours to be loaded to a SmartRider card.