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Cubic-John Laing picked for $723m US fare-collection system

22 Nov 17 The Cubic-John Laing consortium has won the contract for a US$723m (£546m) automated fare collection (AFC) system in the US city of Boston.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is introducing the new system – known as AFC 2.0 - to simplify fare collection and improve the delivery of transit services. The US$723m programme value for the introduction of the system covers capital costs and operating costs through to 2031. Cubic-John Laing's role covers design, integration and implementation.

AFC 2.0 is moving forward under a public-private partnership model with incentives for the contractor to ensure the infrastructure is operational, with risk-sharing agreements for the financing, and requires the contractor to perform system maintenance over the 10-year agreement.

“As the first public-private partnership for the MBTA, this method will allow a major customer service improvement to advance in a cost-effective manner,” said MassDOT secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “The contract structure for AFC 2.0 is a crucial component of this project because it serves as a method to deliver the project, to finance it, and to free up our own internal resources to focus on other critical MBTA efforts.”

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Under the new system, MBTA customers will be able to pay fares by tapping debit and credit cards at fare gates and fare boxes.  The new system will also allow for the use of mobile phones through which customers can use apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.  In addition, the system includes a contactless fare card, similar to the existing CharlieCard.

The new system will also allow all-door boarding on the Green Line and on buses. Additionally, accessible fare gates will be five inches wider than the current gates; standard fare gates will be seven inches wider.

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