SmartRider is Transperth's contactless electronic ticketing system using smartcard technology for the process of charging patrons for public transport.

The SmartRider is a credit card-sized smartcard incorporating a microchip and internal aerial, allowing the smartcard to communicate with processors located on Transperth buses and ferries and at train stations. The microchip enables value to be loaded onto the card, as well as allowing the journey details to be recorded and the appropriate fare deducted from the stored value on the card.

The SmartRider system is designed so that passengers can 'tag on' and 'tag off' whenever they travel through the Transperth network.

Implementation of the system

The implementation of SmartRider was originally planned for January 2005, but due to problems with implementation of reader technology, the key dates changed a number of times. SmartRiders became available to members of the public from January 14 2007.cite web|url=|title=Now we can all get SmartRider (Media Statement)|author=Minister for Planning and Infrastructure|date=14 January 2007|accessdate=2007-01-19]

The SmartRider was rolled out progressively to different groups of customers: [ [ SmartRider rollout dates] (accessed 6 August 2007)]
* Trial Users: A small group of passengers travelling through Stirling Train Station participated in the initial trial in May 2004.
* Control Group: 2,000 passengers from key user groups were invited to test the system. Initially the Control Group trial was to last for 4 weeks, however participants were subsequently asked to continue using their cards until the full rollout (from 16 October 2005).
* Expanded Control Group: 5,000 more passengers joined the Control Group to test this system under load (from 23 January 2006).
* Seniors: New Western Australian Seniors' Cards were issued with integrated SmartRiders in May 2006.cite news|title=Pensioners put SmartRider system to test|last=Mason|first=Graham|work=The West Australian|date=27 May 2006|page=42]
* Secondary Students: Students were issued with ID cards with integrated SmartRiders in 2005. Secondary school students began using the system on 16 July 2006.
* Tertiary Students: Tertiary SmartRider became available for UWA students from 16 July 2006, and all full-time tertiary students from 4 November 2006.
* Primary Students: Students were issued with ID cards with integrated SmartRiders in 2005. Primary school students began using the system on 1 October 2006. The 50 cents Student MultiRiders were phased out afterwards.
*TravelEasy subscribers: The members of the TravelEasy online service were able to obtain the SmartRider card from 13 December 2006, before it was made available to the public.
* General Public: Smartriders were made available to the entire population when the MultiRider system was phased out and subsequently withdrawn from use on the 8th April, 2007.
* Car Parking: From 22nd October to 4th November 2007, new Pay'n'Display machines were trialled at the Stirling Interchange car park so that SmartRider users can pay for their parking with their SmartRider [ [ SmartRider Pay'n'Display trial at Stirling Station] ] This facility has since been extended to 13 other stations on the network. [ [ SmartRider continues to break new ground ] ]

For much of the Control Group testing, Transperth offered full or partial fare refunds to prevent software problems causing overcharging.

Open, closed and controlled train stations

Until the SmartRider system was implemented, all Perth train stations were effectively "open", meaning that a passenger - or indeed, any member of the public - could freely walk into or out of any given train station, or onto a train, without being forced to buy a ticket.

SmartRider implementation has resulted in some stations being gated ("closed") so that one must either validate a SmartRider ticket through a gate to enter or exit the station, or alternatively, show a valid ticket and concession card (if applicable) to a station attendant next to the gate. The officer is also able to assist people with special needs. At all other stations, fare gates have not been installed and a SmartRider processor has been installed at station entry and exit points.

Bus stations, apart from those that are interchanges with train stations, do not employ the technology as buses each have their own attendant.

Open stations

All Armadale/Thornlie Line, Fremantle Line and Midland Line other than termini and Bassendean are open. The others are:

* Joondalup Line: Leederville, Glendalough, Greenwood, Edgewater and Currambine
* Mandurah Line: Canning Bridge

Closed stations

* City Stations: Perth City, Esplanade
* Joondalup Line: Stirling, Warwick, Whitfords, Joondalup and Clarkson
* Fremantle Line: Loch Street
* Midland Line: Bassendean and Midland
* Armadale/Thornlie Line: Thornlie and Armadale
* Mandurah Line: Bull Creek, Murdoch, Cockburn Central, Kwinana, Wellard, Rockingham and Mandurah

Controlled stations

At some bus-train interchanges, arriving buses drop passengers off inside the "paid" area of a closed station. These stations have a special arrangement which allows passengers to transfer from a bus to a train and vice versa without going through a fare gate.

Because of this, passengers tagging off a bus at any Controlled Station will automatically be tagged onto the train, and passengers tagging on this bus after getting off the train at a Controlled Station will automatically be tagged off the train before being tagged onto the bus.

The following stations are controlled stations:
* Joondalup Line: Warwick and Whitfords

Types of SmartRider cards

A range of SmartRider cards exist. When a SmartRider card is first purchased, a card purchase fee of $5.00 for concession users and $10.00 for standard users will apply, on top of which credit needs to be added to use the card.

* Standard SmartRider is for use by passengers without concessions. Standard Transperth adult fares apply.

* Concession SmartRider is for use by passengers entitled to a concession, such as disability pension recipients, the unemployed and holders of health care cards. Standard Transperth concession fares apply.

* Seniors SmartRider is for use by passengers over the age of 60, and is part of the Western Australian Seniors' Card, which provides reduced-cost access to a range of government services. Standard Transperth concession fares apply, except for specified periods when cardholders are entitled to free transport. The Seniors SmartRider was fully implemented from August 2006.

* Student SmartRider is for use by primary and secondary school students, and acts as a student identification card as it includes student details such as name, date of birth and student number. Cardholders are entitled to a special student fare during school periods, and standard Transperth concession fares during other periods.

* Tertiary SmartRider is for use by full-time TAFE and university students, who must, before purchasing, apply for a concession through their institution. The Tertiary SmartRider was fully implemented for university students on 4 November 2006.

Adding value to a SmartRider card

Several options exist for adding value to a SmartRider card. The AutoLoad system, which allows Transperth to directly debit from a passenger's bank account, attracts a 25% discount from the normal cash fare per journey (comparable to the discount applied to 40-trip MultiRiders under the previous system), while all other methods of adding value attract a 15% discount (comparable to 10-trip MultiRiders). When a SmartRider card is first purchased, a minimum credit of $10.00 in addition to the card cost must be added. The card has a maximum limit of $256.00.

In order to successfully tag on, a card must contain a minimum equivalent to a two-section fare for the holder's user category (60c for concession, $1.50 for adult) - the only exception is a Seniors SmartRider holder travelling during a nominated free travel period. If the card cannot be tagged on, a cash fare must be purchased.

Add-Value Machines (AVMs)

AVMs allow passengers to add value to their SmartRider card by inserting notes or coins into a machine, or by using an EFTPOS or credit card. They are located at the following train and bus stations:

* City: Perth Train Station, Esplanade Busport, Wellington St Bus Station
* Armadale Line: Thornlie and Armadale
* Fremantle Line: Fremantle and Subiaco
* Midland Line: Midland and Bassendean
* Joondalup Line: Clarkson, Joondalup, Whitfords, Warwick and Stirling

Machines at Transperth InfoCentres, located in Perth's CBD, also offer this feature.

From a bank account

"AutoLoad" allows a user to establish a direct debit authority to automatically reload the card with a pre-set amount from a passenger's bank account once the low-value threshold of $6 for standard users and $3 for concession users is reached. Alternatively, passengers can manually transfer funds from their bank account using BPay, either via phone or internet. It takes 3-5 working days depending on your financial institution and the time of the BPay transaction. Passengers must have a minimum of a 2 section fare when they tag on for the funds to transfer onto the card.

Loading a SmartRider automatically via direct debit is the only way users can achieve similar levels of fare savings in comparison to the previous Multirider system. [ [ Zones and time limits] Retrieved 2007-02-17.]

On board buses and ferries

A SmartRider tag-on machine is integrated into machines which issue bus and ferry tickets. Passengers can add value to the card by paying the driver.

Retail outlets

Value can be added via EFTPOS or cash at authorised retail outlets such as newsagents.

Technical details

The SmartRider project includes various machines and technologies to manage and control the system including distance travelled, fare deduction, and processing.

Physical technology

At the core of the system is the individual cards issued to passengers using the system. The cards are a MIFARE-based card and have a unique individual identification number allocated to each card. These cards communicate specific information as they interact with the relevant processing equipment at the points of boarding and disembarking from the various transport modes that the card operates across (bus, train, ferry).

The Wayfarer SmartTGX150 Electronic Ticketing Machine (ETM) [cite web|url=|title=The Wayfarer SmartTGX150|author=Wayfarer Transit Systems|accessdate=2007-01-19] incorporates a smartcard processor that allows the driver to sign on and off, issue cash tickets and process SmartRider transactions. Passengers can use the unit to top up their SmartRider cards and the ETM/GPS interface also determines the exact location of a bus at all times and calculates fare zones automatically. The project also includes the Wayfarer SCP smartcard Platform processor for tagging on and off at all ‘open’ train station platforms, and the SCV, the Wayfarer smartcard bus and ferry validator for tagging on and off buses and ferries.

Information collected by processing equipment is then transmitted back to Transperth by either wired LAN (for fixed processors including standalone units and faregates) or wireless LAN (For buses and other mobile forms of transport). The Wayfarer TGX150 ticket machines also include a removable data cartridge that is used as a backup information store that can be used in the event of a systems or communications failure with the central system. [cite web|url=|title=Perth Smartrider reaches another milestone (Press Release)|author=Wayfarer Transit Systems|date=3 May 2005|accessdate=2007-01-19]

Major train stations are fitted with Wayfarer operated access control gates, which open in response to the card.

ystems platform

The Wayfarer Merit and SmarTrack back office systems provide statistical data and interface to the financial control systems of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Other functions will allow card top up via the Internet and by direct debit systems.



In February 2008, the Dutch government issued a warning about the security of access keys based on the ubiquitous MiFare Classic RFID chip (the same chip used in the SmartRider system) after some students from The University of Virginia demonstrated a theoretical attack which could retrieve the private key from the card within minutes on a standard desktop pc. It has been estimated that the security of the cards will hold up until early 2010 before it becomes a trivial matter to exploit the inherent security vulnerabilities of the RFID based card system. [ [ Video Detailing the Security Vulnerabilities of MiFare based SmartCard Systems] ]


Users of the system pass their card over a processor both on boarding and departure of any mode of transport using the system. Each SmartRider card is uniquely numbered, and registration is necessary before the card can be used for concession card holders, and is necessary to access many of the advertised features for other users though is not compulsory. The registration process requires filling in a form providing Transperth with the passenger's full name, address, date of birth, SmartRider card number and password. The system has been criticised as a threat to the privacy of its usersFact|date=January 2007.

Usage data is stored both on the card and centrally by Transperth and provides users of the system the capability to check and review recent usage by either visiting a designated Information Kiosk or online via the Transperth website. Privacy groups such as the Council for Civil Liberties consider it a form of mass surveillance and are concerned with how this data will be usedFact|date=January 2007.

The police have the potential to use SmartRider card data as an investigative tool, and use of this feature overseas dramatically increasing. In London, where the RFID-technology Oyster Card is in use, there were 243 police requests made in total as of March 2006. [cite news|url=,,1729999,00.html|title=Oyster data use rises in crime clampdown|work=The Guardian|date=13 March 2006|accessdate=2007-01-19] [cite news|url=|title=Oyster data is 'new police tool'|work=BBC News Online|date=13 March 2006|accessdate=2007-01-19]


The system has been criticised for usability issues in general system, website and top-up machine design. The most significant usability issue is that customers who for whatever reason do not "tag off" at the end of their journeys will be charged a default fare - being charged "equal to the cash fare on the assumed basis that a passenger who has failed to tag off has travelled to the final destination of that particular bus, train or ferry service" [ [ SmartRider fares and rules, Transperth] ] . Users who have run up a debt of as little as $4 are prohibited from using the card until the debt is repaid.


Criticism has been directed at the cost to users of the SmartRider system compared to its predecessor, the MultiRider. While the MultiRider could be bought as a 40-ride ticket for a 25% discount, this discount can now only be obtained by paying by direct debit, which can take up to 3 weeks to activate. A 15% discount is available for all other methods of payment. [cite web|url=|title=Tickets and fares (Archived as at 18 September 2006)|author=Transperth|date=18 September 2006|accessdate=2007-01-19] This was raised in Parliament by Liberal MP Katie Hodson-Thomas, who claimed that passengers would end up paying $324 more a year for public transport under SmartRider. [cite web|url=|title=Legislative Assembly of Western Australia|author=Parliament of Western Australia|work=Hansard|date=26 October 2004|accessdate=2007-01-19] In February 2006, "The West Australian" reported criticism by trial users who claimed that their failure to tag off, either by accidentally forgetting to do so or due to a non-working machine, resulted in a four-zone fare being charged to the SmartRider regardless of distance travelled. [cite news|title=SmartRider fails to live up to name|last=Kent|first=Melissa|page=2|work=The West Australian|date=13 February 2006]

However, Transperth has maintained that the default fare is "equal to the cash fare on the assumed basis that a passenger who has failed to tag off has travelled to the final destination of that particular bus, train or ferry service" [ [ SmartRider fares and rules, Transperth] ] , and that the four-zone rate only applies to rail travel. During the implementation trial phase, the default fare was charged at the Cash Fare less the customer's discount based on how they last reloaded their card. With the opening of the Mandurah railway line, Perth, the default fare for travel on all train services was increased to a seven-zone fare, due to the ability of passengers to transfer trains without tagging off/on. [ [ SmartRider fares and rules, Transperth] ]

Further criticism has arisen from the set-up costs of the SmartRider card. The total cost of set up is $20 and the cost of the card itself is $10. Although Transperth claim this is to cover the cost of a passenger traveling four zones on a lesser-zone fare, this is contradicted by the inability to travel without a minimum fare on the card.

ee also

* Automated Fare Collection System
* Transperth
* MultiRider


External links

* [ Transperth's SmartRider Homepage]
* [ Student SmartRider Information]
* [ SmartRider Monitor]
* [ Wayfarer Transit Systems Ltd.]

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