A company is rejecting claims it will fail to meet a deadline for Auckland's new $98 million integrated public transport ticketing system.
Auckland Council has called in lawyers to look at claims that Snapper Services, the sister company to the city's biggest bus operator NZ Bus, is running way behind schedule on plans to make public transport easier for Aucklanders.
In 2009 French technology company Thales won the contract for a universal smart ticket that commuters can use on trains, buses and ferries.
The following year rival bidder Snapper Services was allowed to run its card system in Auckland. But only if it was on buses run by NZ Bus, and on the condition the cards were made compatible with Thales' system by November 30.
Auckland Transport claims Snapper Services is not going to meet its commitment and gave the company until 5pm to explain what was going wrong.
Snapper Services has responded to Auckland Transport, but the agency told ONE News it is going to take a couple of days before it can respond to Snapper.
Auckland Transport sent a strongly worded legal letter to Snapper Services last week. It says Snapper has confirmed it will miss the deadline and goes on to claim Snapper has breached its agreement.
Auckland Transport says missing the deadline would be unacceptable and would lead to a cost blowout of $4 million, which Snapper will have to pay for.
Snapper Services said in a statement today that the basis of Auckland Transport's claims has not been clarified and the notice incorporates "a number of significant errors and inaccuracies".
"Infratil and Snapper strongly refute the allegations made and we will make our response to the detailed claims known as appropriate."
Snapper Services yesterday rejected any suggestion they were liable to cost overruns incurred by Auckland Transport.
And NZ Bus says it remains committed to Auckland's integrated ticketing system.
However, Auckland Mayor Len Brown is not happy.
"There is a problem and we are addressing that. We have taken steps to get our lawyers involved to and ensure the parties are aware of their legal responsibilities," he said yesterday.
The Government, which contributed $42 million to the project, is also furious about the delays.
It has signalled it is prepared to see NZBus's fleet of 600 buses taken off the road if the deadline is not met.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said last week that "if they don't meet that deadline they won't be able to take passengers on that system".
"I can't believe a big company like NZBus are going to want to start shedding passengers."
Labour says it is vital a resolution is reached as pulling the buses off the road, as signalled by Brownlee, is not realistic or practical.