Connect Card: Calgary Transit electronic fare payment system now set for July 2015
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After a previous failure and delay, Calgary’s long-awaited “Connect Card” for electronic payment of bus and C-Train fares should be available in one year’s time, according to a city report.
“New monthly and new single ride fare options will be introduced with the Connect Card – July 2015,” reads the report due up at the transportation and transit committee this week.
Coun. Shane Keating, the committee chairman, said Sunday he’s confident the technology will actually work as it’s meant to, this time around.
An electronic-fare system was initially supposed to be rolled out by mid-2012, but in November 2012 the city terminated a contract with Spanish group Telvent, citing repeated delays and failures during trial runs of the system.
A year later, Calgary Transit director Doug Morgan announced the city had come to a new agreement with Telvent – since renamed Schneider Electric – that would see a functional system completed for $8 million, including $2 million the city had already paid the company.
Keating said the city plans to undertake beta testing with a group of its own staff and citizen volunteers in the coming weeks and months to “work out the bugs” in the system, before the full roll-out next year.
Transit rider Ebby Anekwe, 19, said Sunday she would welcome an electronic payment option for both monthly passes and single rides.
“It definitely would make it easier if you don’t have to get paper (passes),” she said. “And if you can load (money on) it online, it’s really helpful.”
Anekwe also suggested building automatic renewal options into the system, for monthly pass holders like herself.
“If they had things like a reminder, so you remember when the month is starting, that’d be really useful,” she said. “I know I’ve definitely been caught not having my month for the new month.”
The Connect Card electronic payment option is to be rolled out in conjunction with changes to discounted Calgary Transit fares for youth, seniors, and low-income riders.
The tap-and-go, account-based system would allow users to transfer credits from a lost or damaged card.