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ERG lands smart US deal

WA-BASED ERG Group and its alliance partner Motorola have won the largest smart card contract ever awarded in the US.

The ERG Motorola Alliance is supplying the TransLink system that will allow users in San Francisco’s Bay Area to pay for train, light rail, bus or ferry public transport with a single smart card.

The system is expected to be in operation by 2002.

According to the terms of the agreement, the alliance will receive between US$14 million and US$157 million – depending on rider usage – to install and operate the system for ten years.

ERG CEO Peter Fogarty said this was the first major project ERG had become involved with in the US.

Smart cards are credit card-sized, computer chip-embedded devices that can accept, store and send up to 100 times more information than traditional magnetic-striped cards.

The TransLink system will help speed boarding times and make transfers easier by eliminating the need for commuters to search for cash or a new boarding pass at every point of transfer between systems.

The smart card will be able to determine the correct fare from a range of variables, including different fare structures for every transit operator, transfers, route, length of trip, time of day and discounts for students, elderly and disabled riders.

The system will also supply a more accurate count of passengers, helping participating transit agencies to assess routes and schedules.

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