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MBTA issues RFQ for automated fare collection system

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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Monday issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for systems integrators interested in development of a new Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system under a performance-based contracting arrangement with private financing and integrated delivery.

The RFQ calls for firms or teams capable of designing, installing, financing and operating a new AFC system for the MBTA’s transportation network. The new AFC system will replace the existing CharlieCard and CharlieTicket and allow riders to utilize smart phones, bank cards, and/or a new MBTA fare card to access all MBTA services.

MBTA Chief Administrative Officer Brian Shortsleeve says, “Our primary job is get people where they are going safely and reliably. With automatic fare collections we will be able to have customers boarding at more than one location on vehicles, we will reduce the congestion which occurs when people pay with cash, and we will get riders on and off buses and trains much quicker. All of that adds up to more efficient operations and more seamless travel for our customers.”

Policies enabled by the new system are anticipated to allow the MBTA to improve bus and light rail speed by 10 percent or greater by letting passengers board at all doors. The MBTA will also be able to greatly expand its retail network to make purchasing fare ubiquitous across the region while reducing cash handling costs, currently used by less 4% of customers on board buses and green line vehicles. Currently 91 percent of riders use a station or stop with a vending machine each day. By expanding the retail network and enabling mobile payment the MBTA will fill in those gaps for all riders. The MBTA’s new fare card will also enable “one more trip” overdraft protection that allows users with insufficient fare to board vehicles when needed. By partnering with teams on a performance-based contracting arrangement, the MBTA will be able to ensure that these benefits and more are delivered to its riders.

The procurement will follow a two phased approach: the issuance of the RFQ in order to qualify teams with the necessary experience and qualifications to deliver the system followed by the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to secure detailed proposals and select the winning proposal. The MBTA intends to select the winner in Spring 2017 and for the new AFC to be operational 24 months from selection, with incentives for quicker delivery.

Additional information is available via the procurement website HERE.




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