CTA Implements Biometric Time and Attendance System

July 14, 2010
The Chicago Transit Board today approved a five-year contract for a biometric time and attendance system that will allow the agency to centralize employee time and attendance records for enhanced recordkeeping.
Currently, CTA uses six separate software platforms to record employee time. The platforms are tailored to each work classification: two for bus and rail employees; one each for administrative and general office employees; craft and trade union employees; rail station attendants; and bus and rail maintenance employees.
Most employee time and attendance is collected through a manual paper process. Once collected, a designated supervisor for the department then inputs each employee’s time in the software platform for that work location. The data from the software platform then is sent to the Oracle payroll system to be used for payroll processing. This paper system does not allow for data to be easily analyzed and reviewed.
“CTA’s time and attendance system is outdated and doesn’t take advantage of the technology available today,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “This biometric system will increase accountability and provide a centralized collection of time data that will allow management to generate reports and conduct analysis that can help to more quickly identify trends.”
Under the biometric system, employees will input their CTA employee identification number and place their finger on a biometric scanner at their work location. The scanner then will determine if the employee ID and fingerprint match those that were previously stored in the system. At the end of the work day, the process is reversed. If an employee travels from one work location to another, the employee is required to go through the process at each location. This tracking will help eliminate the possibility of an employee having someone else sign in or out on their behalf. 
Under the current system, an employee touches their CTA identification card to a reader which allows them access to the location. When the employee arrives at their work station they sign in and input the time they arrived. At the end of the workday, the process is reversed.
“The Auditor General and outside auditors CTA hired to review the agency’s operations made recommendations on how CTA could improve its policies and procedures,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “By implementing a biometric attendance system, the CTA is further in compliance with the recommendations and continues its efforts to become more efficient and improve accountability in its operations.”
The biometric system will not replace the other software systems, but will serve as the common denominator bridging the existing systems.
The contract for the biometric system was awarded to System Development Integration (SDI) LLC of Chicago following a competitive bid. Under the terms of the contract, SDI is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the equipment, the product license and support and maintenance of the software, and implementation of the system.
The total cost of the contract is not to exceed $5 million which will be paid through Federal Transit Administration and Regional Transportation Authority capital funds. The installation at all CTA work locations will be completed in spring 2011.
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