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TTC releases shortlist of bidders for open fare payment contract

The Toronto Transit Commission has released a short list of 11 firms seeking to bid on the proposed contactless fare system, and the surprise is that not one Canadian bank, nor MasterCard, which has been involved in a much-hyped open payments trial in New York City, has opted to throw their hat into the ring.

In fact, the only financial institution on the list is Visa Canada. But the other 10 contenders include several global high-tech firms, including the South Korean electronics giant LG and a subsidiary of Xerox.

Also bidding is San Diego's Cubic Transportation Systems, which has built smart cards for transit agencies around the world, including London's Oyster. Earlier this year, Cubic, which is own by a publicly traded U.S. defence contractor, won a $370-million deal to provide electronic fare services for Sydney's transportation authority. In August, the 1,500-person company assumed total control of London Transport's ticketing operations. Cubic claims it collects US$50-million in transit fare revenues every day.

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The TTC will spend the next two weeks determining whether the hopefuls are qualified to bid on the open payments contract. Seen as the next generation in fare collection, open payments allow riders to pay with contactless credit or bank cards instead of proprietary smart cards.

Special to the Globe and Mail

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