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Mississauga 'smart' about new transit fare card

MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 17 /CNW/ - Mississauga will be the first municipality in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to introduce an electronic smart card fare option to transit riders starting in 2007.

“Smart cards are the way of the future and will be beneficial to transit users,” said Mayor Hazel McCallion. “I’m thrilled that Mississauga will be the first municipality in the GTA to implement this new system.”

Mississauga City Council approved the City’s participation and funding portion of the smart card project and will spend $4.5 million to implement the new technology for transit riders and $1.1 million a year to maintain it.

The smart card initiative will implement a single high-tech fare system for all public transit agencies in the GTA, including the TTC and GO Transit. Mississauga Transit will implement the smart card system on shuttle bus routes to GO Transit stations in Meadowvale and Cooksville in 2007 with full system-wide roll out in 2008.

“Smart cards will eliminate the use of tickets and passes and card users will not need paper transfers,” said Commissioner of Transportation and Works Martin Powell. “However, riders who do not opt for a smart card will still have the option of paying cash.”

The smart card works by using microchip technology which is embedded in the card. Transit users will initially pay $5 for the smart card and then purchase a pre-determined fare value that will be electronically loaded onto the card. When the transit rider boards a bus they will present their card to an on-board bus reader and the cost of the fare will be deducted from the smart card. Martin explained that “the provincial government has agreed to fund two-thirds of the start-up costs, however, the City will be asking the Province for continued support to help fund smart card operations for at least ten years.”

“The goal of the smart card project is to make transit fare payment seamless for Mississauga Transit riders across municipal boundaries,” explains Director of Mississauga Transit, Bill Cunningham. “Smart cards have worked well in other major cities across the world and will eliminate a barrier to taking public transit in the GTA as well as stimulate ridership growth.”

A number of other major cities have adopted similar systems, including Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Montreal. Mississauga’s transit system carries 25 million passengers a year.

For more information, contact Thomas Plant, manager Transit Business Systems, Mississauga Transit at 905-615-3869.

For further information: Media Contact: Michelle Williams, Web Communications Consultant, Transportation and Works Department, (905) 896-5745, michelle.williams@mississauga.ca




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