The contract is worth $US 539.5m with options worth $US 33.9m and covers the rollout of a contactless payment system that supports debit and credit card, mobile phone, and conventional smart card transactions at turnstiles and onboard buses. The new system enables passengers to create personalised transit accounts where they can view usage history, check and top-up balances as well as report lost or stolen cards.

Cubic will be responsible for design, integration, supply, and implementation of the new fare collection system. It will also provide associated services for platform hosting, hardware and software maintenance, and transition services including call centre support. New equipment includes fare validators and new ticket vending machines at MTA’s 472 Subway stations and on its 6000 buses. The contract also includes the option to provide additional vending and validation equipment for Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad.

Cubic says the new system will cut MTA's costs by significantly reducing the use of the current disposal MetroCards as well as streamlining fare calculation, and phasing out 20-year-old equipment which is becoming increasingly costly to maintain. Among the company’s partners for the project are Transport for London and Mastercard.

“Today’s vote is a tremendous win for New Yorkers, paving the way for flexible payment options, a streamlined trip through the region’s public transit, and updated equipment that will save operating costs,” says Mr John J Lhota, MTA chairman.