But TransLink general manager Martin Bradshaw said it was not curtains for the Go Card just yet.
“There will definitely be a card option in the future,” he said.
“Whether or not it is called the Go Card, there are still decisions to be made around that.”
Those trials of phones, cards and watches will begin, on various modes of public transport, from late 2020.
Mr Bradshaw said the next step was to research how commuters used Go Cards on the existing card readers.
Those usage patterns would then be incorporated into the new card readers as the 14,000 older ones are progressively replaced.
“We are trialling four gates at Central Station between 7am and 9am as express gates over the next month,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“We have put in new readers – faster readers – and we have changed some of the settings on the gates.
“People will notice that the readers will operate faster and that the gates will not close automatically.
“We are trying to encourage commuters to walk straight up – touching on – and then walk straight through.”
The idea was to modify settings on the existing card readers and the gates during the week to see which work most efficiently, he said.
The changes will be in place on the new card readers and new gates by the end of 2022, in time for greater Brisbane’s underground Cross River Rail project to come online in 2024.
“We know for example that at the moment, the gates shut quite quickly and a lot of customers wait for the gates to shut and then move forward,” he said.
“It is through a combination of improved technology and changed customer behaviour we can get a faster, better customer experience.”
TransLink plans to have the smart-ticketing replacement for the Go Card in place by the end of 2022 at a cost of $371 million.
The month-long trial is being evaluated by Queensland University of Technology travel experts.
“They are going to provide an independent report showing what does work and what does not work,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“Basically what the customers prefer.”
The month-long customer behaviour survey on the existing Go Card readers and the results from the QUT report will be incorporated into the newer card readers and the new-generation gates at platforms.
“We will then be looking at how we set those up and how we calibrate those,” Mr Bradshaw said.
The new faster gates and card readers will next be combined with the new Euro Card, Mastercard, and Visa technologies.
“People will then be able to use their contact-less debit and credit cards, their smart watch, their phone or whatever,” he said.
“…Around 70 per cent of adults will shift across to their debit card, credit card or smart watch device.
“The number of people using the traditional Go Card will be quite small.”
Debit and credit card trials will begin in mid-2020.
“We will be rolling out the first trial sites for this in the middle of next year,” Mr Bradshaw said.
Those trials will not begin on heavy rail, more likely on a less frenetic mode of transport, possibly CityCats or ferries, he said.
“We will then by trialling it ‘mode by mode’, which will ultimately have it rolled out across heavy rail, light rail, ferry and bus sometime in late 2021, early 2022,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“We will also be rolling that same technology out in 18 regional centres as well; Mackay, Cairns and Townsville for example.
“So the 18 regional centres that have urban public transport they will be in line with the same contemporary technology that we have in south-east Queensland.”
Existing Go Cards would continue to be usable, Mr Bradshaw said.
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times