Use of a single fare card across different transit systems took a step closer to reality Wednesday when the CTA board approved an agreement to let Pace install and operate the CTA's open fare system.
Last fall the CTA announced it will replace its current fare system with an open fare system, using contactless cards that use both financial and information security industry “open standards” technology. When implemented in 2014, rider will “tap” their contactless credit, debit and bank cards or CTA-branded prepaid cards on a card reader to board trains and buses.
The new system will be built by Cubic Transportation Systems under a $454.1 million contract. Pace will pay the CTA $54.8 million to be added to the Cubic contract, which is now valued at $508.9 million.
One key advantage to adding Pace to the contract is it will add 500 retail locations where customers can purchase and reload the prepaid cards. CTA and Pace locations will bring the total retail outlets to 2,500 locations in Chicago and suburbs.
Now we just have to get Metra on board with a universal fare card. And all three RTA transit sisters are required by state law to issue a single smart card that riders of all three transit agencies can use to pay fares by 2015.