Imagine using the same card you currently use for daily purchases to board the bus or train. CTA has spearheaded that effort, and now, the suburban bus agency Pace has signed onto CTA’s new fare system.
Under terms of an intergovernmental agreement approved by the Chicago Transit Board today, Pace will piggyback on the CTA’s Open Standards Fare System contract with Cubic Transportation Systems, allowing Pace to install and operate the new system when the CTA launches its new system.
“This is the latest example of the regional transit providers working together to better coordinate services to benefit our customers,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “This will deliver a seamless, modern fare collection system for riders of public transportation in Chicago and the suburbs.”
CTA is leading the way in streamlining and modernizing the fare payment system with “open standards” technology. On the new system, CTA and Pace customers will simply “tap” their contactless credit, debit and bank cards on a card reader to board trains and buses.
Those without credit cards or debit cards will be able to purchase reloadable, contactless cards with cash at retail outlets and vending machines in stations, and cash fares will still be accepted on CTA buses and Pace.
With both transit agencies on the same open fare system, customers can easily transition between CTA and Pace by using the same form of payment. Each agency will still retain control of its own, separate fare structures.
State legislation passed in 2011 mandates a universal fare collections system by 2015.
Not only has CTA led the way in the universal fare collection system, it is also the first major transit agency in the U.S. to introduce a combined transit and retail card. Those who use the reloadable cards will also be able to make non-transit related purchases at any retailer that accepts credit cards.
In November, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $454.1 million contract to Cubic Transportation Systems, the company tasked with developing and implementing the Open Standards Fare System in Chicago.
Today’s board approval will add Pace to that contract, bringing the total contract value to $508.9 million. Pace will pay the additional $54.8 million contract cost. This will cover the cost of new fare card readers and the ongoing operational costs of the open fare system over a 10-year period.
Services to be shared by CTA and Pace under the Cubic agreement include: website, branding, advertising, marketing, software and hardware maintenance, information technology, banking services, security protocols as well as card and mobile application production.
The addition of Pace to CTA’s contract with Cubic will add 500 retail locations where customers can purchase and reload the prepaid cards, bringing the total retail network to 2,500 locations across Chicago and neighboring communities.
The vast network of retail locations will be within a third of a mile of virtually every CTA bus stop and strategically placed throughout the Pace service area. Rail stations will also be equipped with fare vending machines to purchase and reload transit cards. The cards will also be available online and through a dedicated Call Center.
Transition to the new fare payment system for Pace will match the timeframe previously outlined in the contract for CTA. The new open fare system implementation will begin in the summer of 2013, and system-wide implementation by 2014.
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