Smart Card Technology Leaders Teaming on Bid to Integrate Fare Collection
Across Mass Transit in Washington D.C. Metro Area<br /><br />WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- ERG Transit Systems, Inc., (ERG) a global leader in smart card-based transit fare collection and management systems, today announced it has signed a teaming agreement with Northrop Grumman Information Technology (IT), a recognized leader in government-related smart card initiatives, to pursue transit opportunities throughout the United States.<br /><br />As part of the agreement, the two companies are currently bidding together on the contract for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Regional Customer Service Center. The WMATA project calls for the establishment and operation of a smart card customer service center and the clearing and settling of smart card transactions across all transit agencies in the Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC areas. The WMATA project will start a new era of integrated transit in the greater Washington D.C. area, allowing passengers to use a single smart card to pay fares across every major transit system in the region.<br /><br />The combined resources of Northrop Grumman IT and ERG represent a unique set of capabilities for delivering total smart card solutions to U.S. mass transit systems. Northrop Grumman IT is a leading smart card consultant and integrator to the federal government. Its parent company, Northrop Grumman, is one of the largest private sector employers in Maryland and Virginia.<br /><br />ERG has already implemented the most sophisticated and scalable fare collection systems in the world. The company's solutions have the proven capacity to integrate numerous transit agencies and transportation systems with a single smart card fare collection and settlement system. ERG built Hong Kong's well-known "Octopus" system. Octopus is the largest smart card payment system for mass transit in the world, with some 8.6 million smart cards issued to date and over 7.2 million transactions processed each day. ERG is also engaged in the largest smart card contract in the United States to design, build, operate and maintain the TransLink fare payment system in the San Francisco Bay Area. ERG has been awarded contracts for other major smart card fare collection systems in Las Vegas, Toronto, Singapore, Rome, Manchester, Gothenburg, Berlin and several cities in France. ERG is also the preferred contractor for projects in Seattle and Sydney.<br /><br />"I believe smart card systems will play a major role in the future of American mass transit," said Denis Brown, vice president, Civil Security and Public Safety, Government Solutions, Northrop Grumman IT. "We have found that ERG provides an impressive capacity for interoperability and scalability across multiple transit systems and millions of passengers. ERG's open architecture was also very important to us because it will integrate new applications, such as identification and security, as these applications are deployed."<br /><br />The development of open architecture-based smart card fare collection systems is the first step toward integrating transit with other smart card systems, such as those used in security and identification.<br /><br />"This teaming agreement for the transit market represents a tremendous opportunity for ERG and a major benefit for transit operators throughout the United States," said Mr. Peter Fogarty, Chief Executive of the ERG Group. "Northrop Grumman IT brings an excellent reputation for integrity, strength and know-how in working on major complex government projects. Its deep understanding of smart card technology and how it can be used to improve security, as well as passenger convenience, will be important to our customers as we move ahead. "<br /><br />ERG Group<br /><br />ERG Group is a world leader in the development and supply of integrated fare management and software systems for the transit industry and technologically advanced smart card systems and services. In 2001/2002, ERG's revenue totalled A$301 million. The Group has established market leadership with its integrated multi-application smart card MASS management technology and the Proton technology. ERG is an Australian-based company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Its major shareholders include Banksys SA (a joint venture of all the Belgian banks), Interpay (a joint venture of all the Dutch banks), American Express and Visa International.<br /><br />CONTACT: Matthew Farrell of Neale-May & Partners, +1-212-213-5400, ext. 217, or [email protected], for ERG Transit Systems, Inc.