CTA Moves Open Fare Collection Project Forward

September 28, 2010
The Chicago Transit Authority is preparing the next phase of its move toward an open fare payment system that could introduce the use of contactless credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards to ride the system.  CTA is issuing a Request for Proposal today on the design, implementation, and operation of an open fare collection system.
"Reducing our expenses by continuing to leverage emerging technologies allows us to maximize our limited financial resources," said Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez. "The CTA will be able to update our fare equipment without an upfront capital cost. Our riders would have a more convenient, streamlined fare payment and reload option and our farecard partner would be able to expand their presence in the Chicago market by working with other retailers interested in offering promotions to the millions the CTA serves each day."
The current fare equipment was installed in 1997 and is reaching the end of its useful life. The CTA would own all of the fare equipment installed by the selected vendor and would also maintain control over fares.  
The next generation of fare media is expected to be a contactless smart card that would contain a computer chip and operate as a standard credit or debit card enabling CTA riders to pay their fares and also use it for other purchases, but without having the card tied to a bank account. CTA riders would also be able to pay their fares with contactless credit or debit cards. These payment options would allow a rider to benefit from using a single card for multiple purposes. The new fare payment system would retain a cash option for customers.
In the first phase of the bid process, CTA received initial proposals from 12 private sector teams interested in partnering with the agency on the design, implementation, and operation of an open fare payment collection system.
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