TransLink picks supplier for planned “smart card” fare-payment system

A corporate group has been selected by TransLink to create and run an electronic fare-collection system for the region’s public transportation network.

TransLink announced today (December 9) that Cubic Transportation Systems and IBM Canada put forward the successful bid.

The “smart card” and faregate system will be intended to deter fare evasion and improve safety, according to the regional transit authority. It is expected to be up and running by 2013.

“TransLink’s new system is expected to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and security of the transit network by providing a convenient and seamless ”˜one card’ approach for customers to travel all modes of transit,” reads a news release.

“As well faregates will provide a visual and physical deterrent to entering the system without payment.”

“The new system will also accept contactless bank-issued cards for tourists, casual riders and others and will allow TransLink to collect important trip and ridership data to enable more coordinated system planning and deployment.”

The project has an estimated price tag of around $171 million. Of that, the provincial and federal governments have committed to jointly providing up to $70 million.

The system will cover SkyTrain, bus, SeaBus, rail, and HandyDart services.

The contract with the Cubic/IBM team has yet to be finalized.

Two other bidders—Serco/Parkeon and Thales/Octopus—were considered during a request-for-proposal process.

Cubic Transportation Systems has worked on metropolitan fare-collection systems in such cities as Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco.

TransLink also held a contest to pick a name for the new fare card, receiving more than 54,000 submissions. The winner is expected to be revealed in January 2011.

You can follow Stephen Thomson on Twitter at twitter.com/thomsonstraight.

Comments (17) Add New Comment
ulala
Was it really a suprise that Ken Dobell's lobbying wouldn't pay off for Cubic? Open bidding, my left toe.
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Its about.
TIME! This should have been done 15 years ago but at least it's finally on it's way.
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slowthinker
We spend $171M to save $1M/year. So we will break even in 171 years. Ok I'm a little slow...
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Evil Eye
Actually the truth is, most transit operations are trying to rid themselves of turnstiles as they do nothing but hinder passengers. Cubit knew that Dobell had the Premier's ear and sold a growingly unsellable product to TransLink was a snap.
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Steve Y
yeah, this is insane. 170 million for what? To prevent some teenagers and homeless people from riding on the skytrain? They'll probably end up jumping the turnstiles anyways. This is a complete waste of money.
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Donnie
Cubic is terrible - look at the lawsuit in Sydney, and the mess that is Brisbane transport

Beware Vancouver!
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Colleen M
Don't forget single mom's and their babes and the working poor all excluded from using public transit because the low income are no longer considered the public.
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unknown sample
The majority of the posters here are a bunch of whiners. How could anyone complain about the installation of a system that will reduce the number transit freeloaders?

The collection of transit revenues is essential for continued operation of the transit system, let alone an expansion of said services.

Or do you think everything should be free? You guys are hilarious.
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looters !
Who is watching over the looters at TrickyLink? I've heard a rumour that the RCMP has opened a file on the Liberals and ...
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Kim
@ Unknown sample:

Admittedly, I like the idea of installing turnstiles and think that we should increase efforts to reduce fare evasion but the business case for turnstiles doesn't make sense. We are about to spend $170 million when:

"TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Tuesday that third-quarter performance statistics showed the transportation authority was getting an average of $1.91 in revenue per passenger, compared to a budgeted $1.99. Over the course of the year, that eight cents per passenger could work out to a loss of approximately $5 million."

http://www.theprovince.com/TransLink+looks+crack+down+fare+evasion/39083..."

So let's see: 170/5 = 34 years to pay them off + interest and maintenance costs and assuming that fare evasion will remain at $5 million a year.

With our transit system busting at the seams on some routes and the Northeast sector highly congested due to the lack of the Evergreen Line and a tonne of development over recent years surely investing that $170 million in service expansion is a more fiscally responsible choice.
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@ unknown sample
uh, maybe because it isn't worth nickel and diming people who feel cheated, Mayor of Vancouver, included. Bring back BC Transit, SVP!!!
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name
Cubic already does the current fare payment system for Translink. http://cts.cubic.com/Customers/Canada/CaseStudyVancouver/tabid/429/langu...
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Steve Y
@ unknown sample

The vast majority of transit users pay their fares, no decent regular people want the hassle and risk of getting a ticket on the train. This 170 million will not reduce the number of "transit police" required on the train for safety reasons. So they might as well check tickets while they are out patrolling as it gives them an excuse to interact with the public, find people who are drunk, rowdy, etc. As well, the amount of fraud this will stop is probably debatable. No system is perfect unless manned by staff which will further add to the cost of our system.
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tek
$170 million is nothing these days folks. Outfitting every last bus and station with the system as well as implementing it is sure to cost something. How do people think the world runs? On promises and good intentions? Oh wait, I forgot. Goods and services move on bike lanes. Let's build $170 million worth of those...
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Lisa Barrett
Thank you, ulala! Why wasn't the (former Translink CEO) Ken Dobell connection mentioned in this article. I have to repeat myself from my GS comments back in April '09:
Amazing how short our institutional memories are...From my archive files:

No slowing down for Dobell
Jonathan Fowlie, with files from Doug Ward, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
VICTORIA - Premier Gordon Campbell's former top aide appears to have suffered little damage to his widespread influence, even as he is expected to rise in court today to plead guilty to a charge under the provincial lobbying act.
Ken Dobell, Campbell's former deputy minister and special adviser, is registered to lobby Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon on behalf of a multinational company makes transit gates and fare collection systems.
Dobell, a former TransLink CEO, registered for that role on behalf of Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. about two weeks after Falcon publicly announced he wanted to see TransLink bring controlled-access gates and Smart Cards to SkyTrain.
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Lisa Barrett
I wish we could stop supporting military contractors with our scarce transit funding dollars. Part of the Canada Line consortium is busy making bullets for the US Army in their spare time and now we have IBM and Cubic getting this lucrative but totally unnecessary contract? Another public subsidy for more war profiteering.
"Globally, Defence is a focus area for IBM and we strive to leverage our global assets and experiences for our Defence clients around the world." (From their posting on the Aerospace Industries website)
"Founded in 1951, Cubic Corporation today is the parent company of two major segments: Transportation and Defense.

Cubic's Defense Group provides realistic live combat training systems for military forces as well as virtual training systems, constructive simulation support, force modernization, battle command training and education and engineering & technical support. The group also supplies tactical battlefield systems and communications electronics, including tactical data links and surveillance receivers for "C4ISR" applications and search-and-rescue avionics.

Cubic Transportation Systems designs, manufactures and integrates automatic fare collection systems for public transit projects throughout the world. This includes rail, bus and parking lot systems. The company supplies contactless smart cards; magnetic stripe cards; device software; and transit hardware including gates, ticket machines and card readers." (From Cubic's website)
Peace, babies.
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it all stinks
We have backroom deals to spend $170 million on fare cards which can't help the monkeys running TransLink because they aren't smart enough to use the information from the fare card info (apprarently a former TransLink CEO is going to make a killing from the fare cards). Put an end to it now and fire the lot of these crooks at DickLink!
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