News / Calgary

Connect card is so 2013, Calgary Transit is looking at mobile payment instead

Councillors will get their first look at a mobile fare system on Wednesday after years of waiting for Calgary Transit's Connect Card

Pictured is the Connect card system, that never made it to Calgary Transit buses or CTrains.

Metro file photo

Pictured is the Connect card system, that never made it to Calgary Transit buses or CTrains.

Instead of fumbling with a card, the City of Calgary is exploring how a mobile app could get transit users their electronic fare fix. 

On Wednesday, the Transportation and Transit committee are set to discuss administration's recommendation: a $5 million mobile ticketing system decked out with scanners and ready to be online in a year. The city is hoping to also update their ticket vending machines, which, after 2018, won't meet financial standards for accepting and processing non-cash payments at the same time.

This has been a long time coming with the city's failed attempt at bringing a card-based electronic fare system online since 2013. It was dubbed Connect Card, and at the time, was an attempt to rival several other convenient fare payment options across the country that Calgarians eagerly eyed. 

But it wasn't meant to be. In September of 2015 Calgary Transit pulled the plug on the Connect Card after years of difficulties with the vendor Schneider Electric (back then they were called Telvent). 

Since that time Doug Morgan Calgary Transit director and transportation boss Mac Logan have both told council about plans to explore a mobile, or credit-card payment system. 

And now, the proposal is here for all to see. 

"This is absolutely a step in the right direction," said Transportation and Transit committee chair Coun. Shane Keating. "We've been talking about it for quite some time, we do know that apps work extremely well."

Administration's report recommendation

Keating pointed out transportation network companies use them, Park Plus uses an app – so, why not Calgary Transit create one as an extra payment option. 

"This could go across the city, and you could use it for many different services," said Keating. "It's definitely an exciting process to go through." 

The city's proposed timeline sets out to get a mobile ticketing system in place by the end of 2017 and look at whether an Electronic Fare System is needed at the beginning of 2018. 

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