So long CTA-issued transit and smart cards. Hello contact-less credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards for fare payments.
Starting this month the CTA will look at all the options to put itself out of the business of providing fare payment cards. That includes "considering possible procedures, management and cost of the program," according to a CTA press release. "After reviewing these proposals and developing a final plan, the second phase will give companies the opportunity to submit proposals for the actual implementation of the program."
The idea is to partner with a bank issuing a credit or debit card to push the cost of producing the card onto the card issuer.
"The farecard would be a smart card containing a computer chip that
allows customers to pay a fare and also serves as a standard credit or
debit card tied to a customer's bank or credit card account. A prepaid
card could provide the option for customers who choose not to have the
card tied to a bank account."
The New York City Transit System piloted such a program in 2007 with Citi and MasterCard on its Lexington Line. Later this year they will expand it to include rail, bus and heavy rail, affecting 1.5 million daily rides.
The official quote from CTA board chairwoman Carole Brown:
"With this new system, customers would benefit from the faster boarding
times and ease of use as nearly all fare transactions would be