Waterways Ireland rolls out Smart Cards for lock passages on River Shannon

WATERWAYS Ireland is extending its Smart Card system to include lock passages on the River Shannon and Lower Bann.

The service will be tested from a technical perspective at Albert Lock on the Shannon and the Cutts Lock on the Lower Bann for a two-week period beginning on April 16 2018.  Following the technical test period and depending on the learnings taken from it, Waterways Ireland will then begin the roll out of Smart Card usage at all locks and lifting bridges on both the Shannon and Lower Bann. Marine Notice 15/2018 has been issued to this effect.

Albert Lock on the River Shannon. PHOTO: ALISON ALDERTON

The Smart Card is already in use along the Shannon for numerous services including showers, toilets, pump-outs and electricity and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway for lock passages. The extension of the service to include lock passages will mean a one-stop-shop for waterway customers for all waterway services. The customer provides their Smart Card to the Lock-keeper to insert into a reader which deducts the units for the lock passage. The lock-keeper will then operate the lock as usual.

The pilot at Albert Lock will run from April 16-30, 2018 and boats will have the following payment options – use their existing Smart Card, pay in cash or purchase a Smart Card. Many boaters already have Smart Cards as they use them to purchase other services along the Shannon. Hire boat companies already provide the Smart Cards to their customers.  Boaters can buy Smart Cards from local retailers or order online– the list of retailers is available from www.shopwaterwaysireland.org.

The remaining Shannon locks and bridges will accept payment by smart card and cash from the May 1 until the end of June 2018. From July 1 – September 30, 2018 boaters presenting with case will be able to buy a smart card from the Lockkeeper. From October 1 payment will be by Smart Card only and the boater will need to have a valid card on board. Where bridge lifting is required at Tarmonbarry and Rooskey, a combined toll payments for the lock and bridge will be taken at the Lock.

The cost of the lock passage on the Shannon will remain the same and will take two units from the smart card. The cost of the lock passage on the Lower Bann will be 1 unit. The lock passage on the Shannon-Erne Waterway will remain at 1 unit. The 10 unit card cost €6.35/£5.55 and the 20 unit card €12.70/£11.10.

Waterways Ireland has managed over 1000km of waterways since 1999, investing significantly in improving services and facilities along the navigations including mooring, services blocks, creating and extending boating destinations along the Shannon including Killaloe, Garrykennedy, Dromineer, Ballyleague, Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle, and Lough Key. Further information on the pilot and the smart card system can be found at www.waterwaysireland.org or by emailing info@waterwaysireland.org.