Express Farecard Vending Machines, Wheelchair Accessible Turnstiles Part of CTA Rail System Upgrades

August 18, 2005

The Chicago Transit Board today approved a $13 million contract for the purchase of 30 wheelchair accessible turnstiles and 64 new express farecard machines. The express farecard machines accept only credit and debit cards to purchase magnetic strip transit farecards or to add value to either transit farecards or Chicago Cards. The approved contract also includes additional parts to maintain the new equipment once it is installed.

The express farecard machines will issue magnetic strip farecards only. Customers will be guided by simple menus featured on a color touch screen to complete their transactions. The express machines are smaller than the cash-only automated farecard vending machines currently in use by CTA. Customers who wish to purchase or add value to farecards with cash will continue to use the existing automated farecard vending machines.

"The convenience of paying with a credit or debit card is something customers want. Recently CTA installed new Visitor Pass farecard vending machines which also accept credit and debit cards, and sales of Visitor Passes through the machines significantly increased and, as a result, the use of Visitor Passes on the system also increased," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?We are continually working on ways to improve the convenience and ease with which our customers travel on the system and the new express farecard machines and wheelchair turnstiles are helping in those efforts."

Many of the new wheelchair turnstiles and express farecard machines will be installed at stations that are part of CTA capital improvement projects either planned or currently underway. Those projects include the rehabilitation of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, the Brown Line capacity expansion project, the upcoming renovation of the Howard station on the Red Line and the planned station to be constructed under Block 37.

"In some cases wheelchair turnstiles are part of the CTA's effort to make stations accessible, such as on the Brown Line. In other instances, these turnstiles will be installed at stations that are not currently accessible, but will provide added convenience for customers who find it difficult to go through standard turnstiles," added Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?And the installation allows CTA to plan for the future. When funds become available to upgrade these stations and make them accessible, wheelchair turnstiles will not have to be part of that cost."

The equipment purchase from Cubic Transportation Systems of San Diego, California, is funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Delivery of the new equipment will begin in 2006.

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