Calgary Transit moves closer to decision on electronic fares

CALGARY- It’s been an expensive debacle, trying to give Calgary Transit users more ways to pay their fare. Now, talks are once again underway to provide an electronic fare collection system.

Last November, Calgary Transit broke off its partnership with Telvent, the company contracted to implement the CONNECT system. The project grinded down a halt in 2012, and the contract was cancelled. However, Telvent continued to work on the system for several months on its own, and now appears to be close to rolling it out.

“We hired third party experts to look at that, and we think there’s a good possibility that’s going to provide the service we need,” explains Calgary Transit director Doug Morgan, adding forging ahead with a different provider would mean more delays and money.

“We can go with Telvent and have a quick response, or we can do the additional investment and have a larger, more complicated system. We are trying to say ‘which is better for Calgary?’ and certainly $11 million dollars is a lot of money and two years is a long time.”

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Those who use public transport  say a convenience card is long overdue.

“Some people don’t have change and [the machines] don’t give back change here, so it will be a good thing,” says Chanel. “People might take the train even more with that.”

However, Ward 12 councillor Shane Keating wonders if it’s worth moving ahead with a jilted contractor.

“Now, they are saying we will save money if we go back. I don’t know,” Keating says. “I have to wait for a report to see if that’s the best option. I will take that into consideration at the time and see if that’s the right choice.”

Calgary Transit is trying to see if a deal can be struck within the next month.

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