Friday, January 16, 2009

Smart' bank card could be ticket to ride Metra, CTA, Pace

Metra, CTA and Pace riders could skip buying tickets and instead use a “smart” bank or credit card to pay for fares on all three transit systems, under a concept being examined by the Regional Transit Authority.

“This would be the way we integrate the three service boards,” said RTA Chair Jim Reilly. Reilly said this technology would cut costs for transit agencies, by eliminating the need for employees to handle cash and sell tickets.

The card would contain a computer chip that allows the user to pay for rides. The card could also be used for other purchases, like groceries.

The CTA is already exploring the idea of using cards like this to pay for bus and L fares.

“It’s all still in the early stages. We’re in the process of soliciting proposals for this type of technology,” said Wanda Taylor, CTA spokeswoman.

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