The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has launched its new Fare Transformation programme with plans for customer-focused upgrades to the existing fare collection system, while providing a new path toward a future system. The near-term improvements and transition to a new system will occur over a 5-year period.
To advance the fare transformation project, MBTA has approved two USD 79 million contracts. A USD 49 million contract was awarded to Scheidt & Bachmann for the improvement of the legacy system. This includes new fare vending machines, fare gate computers with upgraded software and hardware, enhancements to the CharlieTicket, additional retail sales terminals, and new handheld readers. The contract also establishes a process for developing interoperability between Scheidt & Bachmann and Cubic devices.
Cubic was selected as the system integrator, under a USD 30 million contract. The company will ensure a smoothly transition to the new fare system, while the final contract reset is negotiated. The final contract incorporating the reset changes to the original Cubic contract will be presented to the Board in the future. This full contract reset will include many of the elements of the original contract with the addition of new project milestones with associated payments, a longer transition timeline, more schedule confidence, improvements to the customer experience surrounding tap in/out for the commuter rail, tools to address the needs of low-income customers and infrequent riders, integrations for fare gates at commuter rail terminals, and improved programme management.
Fare Transformation will combine the existing fare collection operation with the project formerly referred to as “AFC 2.0.” Under the new program, the MBTA will implement meaningful improvements to the existing system while pursuing a phased approach for a new system that better represents the needs of MBTA customers.
“With the launch of the new system, we are showing that we listened, we learned, and we reset. By shifting to a phased approach, we’ll be able to build upon the progress we’ve made by continuing the process of engaging with our key stakeholder groups,” Ron Renaud, Chief Transformation Officer, said.
The phased approach to Fare Transformation will result in improvements that include the ability to pay for a trip on all Zone 1A stations on the Fairmount commuter rail line with CharlieCard, deploying fare vending machines that dispense CharlieCards, all-door boarding on MBTA buses and surface stops along the Green Line and integrating the entire commuter rail network into the CharlieCard system.
In addition to these improvements, the program reset will result in the MBTA assuming responsibility for the placement of fare vending machines at both on-street and at retail locations once the rollout of the new system begins.