On Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Board was provided a report on plans to transition to a new farecard payment system, which would introduce the use of contactless credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards to ride the system. CTA expects to issue the request for proposals for a two-step competitive procurement process this month.
The transition would save the CTA in money now used to issue fare media and manage the fare payment and collection system, and the contactless fare payment system would reduce the need for customers to carry cash or have the right denomination or currency to ride the system.
The first phase of the procurement process will examine the CTA's options for developing the card - considering possible procedures, management and cost of the program. After reviewing these proposals and developing a final plan, the second phase will give companies the opportunity to submit proposals for the actual implementation of the program.
The farecard would be a smart card containing a computer chip that allows customers to pay a fare and also serves as a standard credit or debit card tied to a customer's bank or credit card account. A prepaid card could provide the option for customers who choose not to have the card tied to a bank account.
"CTA wants to examine ways to use the technology available today to transition to a more modern contact-less fare media system," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "Once implemented, the smart card would bring the agency's fare paying process more in line with the way people prefer to conduct their business."
The CTA expects to complete the two-step RFP process and begin the transition to an open fare system next summer.