The Chicago Transit Authority is exploring dropping its fare cards and instead going with contactless credit, debit and prepaid cards for payments on the system. The agency will issue a request for proposals in late August.
Switching systems would save the CTA money because it wouldn’t have to issue fare media and manage the fare payment and collection system. 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.
In addition, the same card that would pay for fares to ride CTA also could be used for everyday transactions such as purchases at retail outlets, thereby reducing the number of cards an individual would need to carry.
The first phase of the procurement process will examine the CTA’s options for developing the card, including 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, which will take place summer 2010.