Houston Bus Fare Collection Gets Smart Card Technology
A smart card-based fare collection system for Houston’s public buses has been announced by the Houston METRO transit authority.
Smart card-based ticketing speeds up boarding times and gives transit authorities a way to offer customers innovative fare programs such as Autoload, which lets transit users link their smart cards to their credit cards for automatic reload of transit value into the system.
In addition, one smart card may be used for public transportation as well as other government or private sector services and can accept many applications, such as banking, employee identification and building access.
San Diego’s Cubic Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corp. has received an $8 million contract to provide Houston METRO with the advanced system which will integrate with the transit authority’s current magnetic stripe ticketing technology, which Cubic provided in 1993.
The upgrade will allow METRO to have greater flexibility in designing its fare media offerings. Riders will get the convenience that comes with smart cards.
“We are aware of Cubic’s successful smart card implementations in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and know that other U.S. transit agencies are rapidly turning to smart cards to decrease boarding times, offer innovative programs to customers and increase the data available for planning in order to better serve customer needs,” said Shirley A. DeLibero, president and chief executive officer for Houston METRO. “This new partnership with Cubic will ensure that Houston METRO is a true technology leader with a state-of-the art fare collection system, and that Houston commuters are getting the kind of sophisticated service they deserve.”
Cubic will upgrade Houston METRO’s fareboxes with smart card processors and provide “Point of Sale” devices throughout the transit system to allow customers to purchase and reload their fare cards.