Boston's transport network is climbing aboard the contactless payment wagon, inking a $723 million multi-year contract with Cubic-John Laing for the design, integration, and implementation of a new Automated Fare Collection system.
Known as AFC 2.0, the new system will enable customers to pay fares by tapping debit and credit cards - or mobile phones equipped with Apple, Android and Samsung Pay kit - at fare gates and fare boxes. In addition, the system includes a contactless fare card, similar to the existing CharlieCard.
MBTA customers will begin to experience the first elements of the new system late in 2019. Full implementation will occur by mid-2020 followed by a retirement of the existing system in 2021.
MBTA general manager Luis Manuel Ramírez, says: "The new system will be compatible with all modes, will provide more options for paying fares and will have more fare media available for use. To be clear, we still have much work ahead of us to involve our customers, stakeholders, and members of the community to ensure we all realise the benefits of the new system. But today is a major step forward in our partnership with the Cubic-John Laing team to completely transform and modernise our system of fare collection."
The agreement with MBTA follows a similar contract agreement with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which will entail the replacement of the network's Metro Card in 2019 for travel on the city's subway network.
Transport for London, a front-runner in the move to replacing paper tickets with bank cards, signed a deal in July 2016 with Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), allowing the US-based firm to adapt the capital's contactless ticketing system worldwide.