Under a $10 million contract signed last year, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., transportation subsidiary of Cubic Corporation, will provide more than 200 MetroCard Fare Collectors to New York City Transit (NYCT) in an effort to speed bus service to handle increased ridership. Studies show that NYCT buses spend more than 20 percent of their time stopped waiting for passengers to board, transit officials say. With fewer stops, dedicated traffic lanes and stoplights that change in the buses' favor, "Select Bus Service" routes are a cost-effective alternative to building new subways.

Cubic's MetroCard Fare Collectors will let people use their MetroCard to pay before the bus arrives. They are new, weatherized versions of the MetroCard Express Machines currently used in NYCT's subway system to accept credit or debit card payments.

Cubic installed modified MetroCard Express Machines on the first Select Bus Service route in the Bronx in 2008 as part of a pilot project to test the idea of prepaying bus fares.

The new MetroCard Fare Collectors will be installed at stops on three Select Bus Service routes. The new machines have also been designed to withstand exposure to snow and rain and include user-friendly menus and screens, as well as a wireless network that connects to a central maintenance facility. Passengers insert their MetroCards into the devices and receive a receipt to show to an inspector on request.

The contract with NYCT includes a 2011 option for an additional 64 machines for a fourth Select Bus Service route.

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