SEPTA to award smart card consulting contract

SEPTA got one step closer toward implementing a new fare card system Thursday, when the SEPTA Board’s administration committee reviewed a $9.2 million consulting contract with LTK Engineering Services.

Project head John McGee said LTK would be providing management support for the contract and assist in things like testing out smart card equipment both in the front and back ends of the system.

He added that LTK has already consulted with SEPTA on different parts of the fare card project.

Money to pay for the contract will come out of a $175 million loan fund administered by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. that will also pay for the construction and installation of the system itself.

That contract, expected to cost about $100 million, is still expected to be awarded by the end of the summer, McGee said, adding that SEPTA is waiting for a report by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia ― which is consulting stakeholders on how the regional rail system will operate with the new fare card ― before proceeding.

That group of stakeholders, which includes transit advocates and city and suburban planners, has already received information from SEPTA about projected capital costs of implementing the smart card system on regional rail under different scenarios ― including a one-way fare collection system that has garnered skepticism.

It should take several years before the system is fully operational.

The contract will be voted on by the SEPTA Board at its monthly meeting next week.

In other news, the SEPTA operations committee reviewed the authority’s fiscal year 2012 annual service plan, which involves alterations of several city and suburban bus routes, as well as the creation of two routes in the suburbs: 126 and 133.

The changes garnered support of the city and Delaware and Montgomery counties.

Contact the reporter at acampisi@planphilly.com

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