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Regional Transit Card Study

Regional Transit Card Study


The purpose of this project is to assess the feasibility of implementing an integrated, regional fare card for rail and bus transit in the area of Connecticut served by Metro-North Commuter Railroad. The study area included the South Western, Greater Bridgeport, Valley, Housatonic Valley and South Central planning regions.

The study explored both the technical feasibility of implementing an integrated fare card system and the needs of commuters. More specifically, the study focused on the following:

  • The types of technology available and their associated applications, advantages, disadvantages and costs associated with implementation;
  • The needs of existing transit commuters;
  • Technology options that may entice new riders to use transit for occasional and routine travel; and
  • How to implement system-wide change while allowing transit operators to earn a return on recent investments in fare card and revenue control technology.

The study recommends phased implementation of a regional transit card with the following features: smart card technology to enable the user to store "cash" and use the card for a variety of transit and related transactions; a magnetic strip to aid compatibility with revenue control technologies currently in use by local transit operators; cross-marketing to providers of convenience services located at or near transit hubs to develop a network of participating vendors whereby the "cash" stored on a transit card could be used by their holders like a bank card for small purchases; and a 7 to 10 year phased implementation of a complete regional transit card system to allow adequate time to achieve full stakeholder support and develop the operational policies needed to govern such a regional system. This 7 to 10 year timeframe also will allow transit operators to phase in the required technology as their existing systems reach the end of their useful life, thereby protecting past investment and allowing for an economically efficient transition.

Study Scope:

Study activities included the following:

  • Data collection.
  • Identification of technology options and best practices.
  • Market research.
  • Public participation.
  • Identification and evaluation of alternatives.
  • Recommendations and development of an implementation timeline.

Study Products:

Project Team:

South Western Regional Planning Agency

Prime Consultant:

Howard-Stein/Hudson Associates

Contact Us:

If you have comments or would like additional information, please contact:

Dr. Floyd Lapp, FAICP
Executive Director
888 Washington Blvd
Stamford, CT 06901

Phone: 203-316-5190
Fax: 203-316-4995


Electronic Fare Collection for Commuter Railroads Document


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