Los Angeles Metro taps Cubic for TAP upgrade

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has awarded Cubic Transportation Systems $9 million contract to upgrade its TAP universal fare collection system.

The contract, an add-on to the original Universal Fare System (UFS) contract awarded to Cubic in 2002 for the TAP system, will add a PA DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard)-certified application as well as extensive system-wide hardware and software upgrades.

The initiative will support new payment applications and Metro’s resulting enhanced security and certification with Payment Card Industry (PCI) 3.0 Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), “providing a high level of security for Metro’s patrons purchasing fares with credit and debit cards,” Cubic said.

PCI DSS is a set of requirements that ensure all organizations maintain a secure payment environment. Because Metro’s TAP system is more than 10 years old, the contract provides for a major upgrade to Cubic’s NextFare® Central System software. Cubic will also be providing its PA DSS-certified Cubic Payment Application (CPA), a secure card payment processing gateway, as well as an interface to Metro’s bank of choice, Bank of America.

The agreement also includes Cubic-supplied upgrades to software, computers, and Tri-Reader® card readers in more than 400 ticket vending machines and other hardware devices that support software downloads. More than 20 servers will be replaced to ensure continued reliability and enhanced security with the latest credit/debit processing applications and standards.

“Cubic’s CPA is configured to provide optimum performance for securely processing legacy closed-loop payments such as agency-issued transit smart cards, as well as emerging forms of payment including open-loop (bank-issued) contactless cards, and mobile and EMV payments,” the company said.

TAP is the largest smartcard system in North America and currently supports six rail lines, 80 stations, and more than 4,000 buses regionally. Cubic maintains and supports more than 2,000 devices under its service contract. The network now extends to 14 municipal operators, with the most recent additions of Long Beach Transit (June 2014) and Pasadena (August 2014), and 13 additional agencies are expected to be added by the end of the year. Metro ridership for 2014 will reach approximately 470 million per year, with revenue around $340 million.

“Today, merchants accepting credit and debit cards are required by their acquiring banks to comply with PCI DSS,” said Cubic Transportation Systems Director of Central Systems Janet Koenig. “CPA 3.0 provides a secure payment gateway directly to merchant-acquiring banks or other financial institutions. We are happy to assist L.A. Metro with its needs in fostering a secure payment environment.”

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