Vix Technology

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Vix Technology
Industry public transport technology, fare collection
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Key people
Products Mobility solutions, including smart card automated fare collection systems and intelligent transportation systems

Vix Technology (Vix) is a global technology company that designs, supplies and operates mobility solutions for the public transit industry, including automated fare collection (AFC) systems, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and passenger information display systems (PIDS).

Vix has four main areas of business:

  • Transit and mobility - including AFC, ITS and PIDS solutions[1]
  • Product engineering[2]
  • Payments[3]
  • Telecommunications[4]

The company has designed, supplied and operated mobility solutions around the world, including Hong Kong's Octopus card system,[5] San Francisco's TransLink system (now called Clipper),[6] and Stockholm's SL Access[7] system.[8]


In 1978, Associated Electronic Services Ltd (AES), a Perth based engineering company, began developing an automated fare collection (AFC) system. In 1984 AES won a contract for an AFC system in Toronto, Canada. That same year Energy Research Group (ERG) was listed on the stock exchange. ERG was a venture capital-backed company, researching various technologies including an electronic sign board and a manufacturing process for surfboards.

In 1987, ERG acquired a controlling interest in AES. The first project the new ERG won was in Darwin, resulting in the world's first use of smart cards for passengers by a public transit organisation.[citation needed] In 1988 ERG acquired the balance of AES.

In 1989, ERG acquired Radiolab, which specialised in pagers and base stations, to become ERG's telecommunications and manufacturing division. ERG also acquired a 70% interest in Prodata Electronics, Belgium.[9]

On 31 August 1992 the ERG Datafare 2000/Prodata based magnetic-stripe systems fitted to all buses operated by the State Transit Authority in Sydney were switched on. This covered a fleet of around 1,600 buses and comprised the second stage of converting all of Sydney's Government run public transport services to electronic ticketing. Different suppliers were used for each mode of transport, with Thorn-EMI/Abberfield installing ferry wharf equipment and Cubic Transportation Systems installing railway station equipment. The ticket stripe-data format was standardised to be common across all modes.

In 1997 ERG formed an alliance with Motorola,[10] primarily for their smartcard technology, and won substantial contracts in Berlin, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore. An alliance with American Express was formed. Ecard was established.[11]

In February 2003 ERG's subsidiary Integrated Transit Solutions won the tender to design, build and operate the Sydney integrated ticketing project,[12] or Tcard as it became known. In 2008 the Government of New South Wales cancelled the Tcard project, with lawsuits in both directions.[13] The government sued ERG for $77 million; ERG counter-sued for $215 million.[14] The claim was settled in February 2012.[15]

In 2009, Vix Technology acquired the assets of the former ERG Group, when ERG restructured and changed its name to Videlli Limited.[16] In 2010, Vix Technology acquired ACIS, a UK-based supplier of ITS and PIDS solutions.[17] In 2011, Vix Technology launched a rebranding of the company, integrating all of its business under one brand "Vix".[18]

Major contracts[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

ERG developed the components of the Octopus card system for Hong Kong. The system was completed in September 1997 and remains the largest transit smart card project in the world with over 14 million transactions per day.[19]

San Francisco[edit]

In April 1999 the ERG-Motorola alliance was contracted to the largest smart card project in United States to design, build, operate and maintain the Clipper (then called TransLink) fare payment system in the San Francisco Bay Area. The contract encompasses the six largest transit operators, including buses, light, medium and heavy rail carriers, and ferries. Muni and Caltrain began accepting TransLink on all routes starting in September 2008.[20] Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) began accepting it in early 2009, followed by SamTrans and Santa Clara VTA. However, when Motorola withdrew from the contract, the MTC refused to assign it solely to ERG because it was concerned that ERG had insufficient operating capital.[21] On 27 May 2009, the contract was assigned from Motorola and ERG to Cubic Transportation Systems.[22] TransLink was renamed Clipper and officially launched on 16 June 2010 with Cubic as the operational partner.[23]


In April 2003, ERG signed a contract with Stockholm's public transport authority, Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) to implement a smart card based fare collection system.[24] The contract involved the upgrade of the current rail and metro magnetic ticketing system to contactless smart cards, together with the extension of the system to the bus network, sales outlets, and new ticket vending machines. The contract included the issuing of over one million cards. The system went into public trial from September 2008 and became widely available to the public in 2009.


In 1999, the ERG-Motorola alliance won a contract in Singapore to design and install an integrated smart card ticketing system known as EZ-Link for the Land Transport Authority. On 13 April 2002, the smart card ticketing system went into full service on Singapore's public transport network. At the end of the first week in operation it was processing more than 500,000 transactions per day, a figure that has now risen to more than seven million. EZ-Link is now one of the largest integrated smart card based transit systems in the world with more than 22,000 readers in place across the five transit operators covering bus, rail and light rail.

Cape Town[edit]

Vix was appointed as the AFC technology partner in 2011 for the supply of a fully automated fare collection system for the city's new multimillion-dollar bus rapid transit system. The contract embraces the supply of all software and hardware. The roll-out commenced in October 2011 and will be completed over an 18-month period.


In April 2003, ERG signed a contract with the Regional Fare Coordination System (RFCS), a group of seven transit agencies surrounding the Puget Sound, to create and operate the smart card ticketing system known as ORCA (One Regional Card for All). The card serves those in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bremerton, and the surrounding areas. In April 2009, the ORCA card began processing fares for buses, light rail, heavy rail, ferries, and vanpool services. In addition to processing fares for adults, youths, and seniors, the contract includes issuing smart cards, clearinghouse services, business and institutional accounts, and operations and maintenance. Even though the system is now in the operations and maintenance phase, the RFCS continues to expand the system. Rapid Ride was added in 2009 and disposable cards will be added in the near[when?] future.


Vix (ERG) has also designed, developed, and operated solutions in the following locations:[citation needed]

Sydney Tcard[edit]

The ERG (now Videlli Ltd) contract to develop the Tcard system for the New South Wales Public Transport Ticketing Corporation (PTTC) was terminated on 23 January 2008. The company claimed that their failure to implement the contract in a timely manner was due to the unanticipated fare complexity of Sydney's existing magnetic-stripe ticketing system.[citation needed]

As a result of the project failure, the NSW Government announced their intention to recover claimed project costs of $90 million back from ERG.[28] Videlli lodged a countersuit in May 2008 to recover over $215 million in costs. The case was settled out of court in 2012 to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, with the government keeping its $27 million security deposit and Videlli paying out a further $5 million in settlement. Both sides bore their own legal expenses.[29]


  1. ^ "Transit and Mobility". Vix Technology. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  2. ^ "Product Engineering". Vix Technology. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  3. ^ "Payments". Vix Technology. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Telecommunications". Vix Technology. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Australian Technology Puts Hong Kong In The Picture". Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong, China. 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  6. ^ "Smart Cards and U.S. Public Transportation". American Public Transportation Association. June 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  7. ^ "Public transportation in". Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  8. ^ "ERG Selected for Stockholm Transit Fare Collection Project". SecureIDNews. 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  9. ^ "ERG Australia Ltd acquires Prodata Electronics from Electrorail SA". Thomson Financial Mergers & Acquisitions. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  10. ^ "ERG buys Motorola's share of joint venture". IDG Communications. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Media Release - Single Ticket System For Sydney"
  13. ^ "NSW ends TRG Tcard contract" The Australian 9 November 2007
  14. ^ "Court orders government to hand over Tcard documents" Sydney Morning Herald 9 June 2010
  15. ^ "NSW taxpayers 'spared $200m loss' as Tcard trail aborted" Sydney Morning Herald 17 February 2012
  16. ^ "Videlli Company History"
  17. ^ "Vix Acquires ACIS"
  18. ^ "Vix Launch New Brand and Complete Mobility Solution". Vix Technology. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  19. ^ "Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile 29 September 2000 Export Champions and Heroes Business Club Australia, Darling Harbour". Speech. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  20. ^ "Caltrain and Muni Revenue Ready". Vix ERG. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  21. ^ Memorandum regarding assignment of contract from Motorola and ERG to Cubic
  22. ^ Memorandum regarding assignment of contract from Motorola and ERG to Cubic: Commission Approval
  23. ^ Cubic Supports Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Launching ClipperSM Card for San Francisco Bay Area
  24. ^ "ERG Selected for Stockholm Transit Fare Collection Project". SecureIDNews. 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  25. ^ "ERG wins Gothenberg [sic] contract.(Gothenberg, Sweden, smart card contract)(Brief Article)". 2001-07-01. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  26. ^ "Rome Setting The Pace For Contactless Smart Card Technology". Odyssey Media Group. 2000-12-19. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  27. ^ "Smart card system will help keep Romans moving". Logistics Online. 2000-12-20. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  28. ^ "Dumped TCard Firm Fires Back". Fairfax. 2008-01-24. 
  29. ^ "Tcard battle settled out of court". Fairfax. 2012-02-18. 

External links[edit]