The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), operating the rapid transit between Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, has inked a deal with Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. to upgrade the card readers at its fare gates to accommodate a new version of its electronic transit fare system.
According to Philly.com, the move won’t bring PATCO any closer to compatibility with SEPTA’s planned “open” fare system, which will enable passengers to use any bank-issued, contactless card such as those offered by MasterCard and Visa.
If approved, PATCO would pay Cubic Transportation Systems nearly $170,000 to upgrade card readers at its fare gates to accommodate current and new versions of its FREEDOM Cards. The smart transit card features an embedded contactless chip that allows commuters to tap-and-go using their transit card at the fare gate.
PATCO expects its system to be able to read the smart cards that will soon be accepted on SEPTA’s subways, buses, trolleys, and trains. SEPTA plans to start its own system later this year, with test runs this summer and public use by fall.
“The two transit systems won’t be able to use a single card immediately,” said SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney. “Eventually, they will. The technology will be compatible. But agreements will have to be worked out, and those haven’t been approached yet.”
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