PATH readies its next generation fare collection system with Cubic contract

Jan. 12, 2022
Cubic will plan, test, operate and maintain the new system, which is expected to rollout in mid-2023.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has taken a step toward implementing a new fare collection system, which is part of its three-year PATH improvement plan.

In November, PANYNJ Board of Commissioners approved a contract with Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) business division to deliver a contactless fare payment and collection technology. The estimated $99.4-million project will allow riders to “tap and go” with their mobile devices and credit/debit cards.

“PATH is continually searching for innovative ways to enhance the travel experience for all of our riders,” said PATH General Manager/Director Clarelle DeGraffe. “With this new system, we’ll be adopting the most current and effective technology to advance that goal and make for a more seamless experience at the turnstile.”

PANYNJ had awarded CTS a previous contract that included planning and early preparation work for the project. The first phase of the contract consisted of readiness efforts for the full implementation of the contactless payment system, such as gate upgrade kits and upgrades to the field network and infrastructure.

Once operational, CTS will provide operational and maintenance services at an annual cost of $5.1 million for six years, as well as administrative services. PANYNJ has an option to extend the operation and services for two, five-year periods at a cost of $6.6 million per year.

CTS will provide PATH with its fare payment back office to centralize automated fare collection on conventional public transport modes, which will transform PATH into an account-based system and allow riders to manage fare payments through a single account. The new system will also allow PATH to integrate additional mobility services such as bike and/or scooter share and tolling in the future.

PATH’s existing SmartLink card came online in 2007 and ties riders to a physical card, which PANYNJ calls antiquated. The SmartLink system will sunset in 2024. However, PANYNJ says riders who like the fare card will be able to use this method with the new system.

The new fare system will be gradually rolled out with a pilot phase scheduled at select stations in mid-2023 and continuing in the second half of the year.

“Our aim is to be a global mobility technology provider that makes cities easier to navigate for locals, business travelers and tourists alike. This award showcases our proven track record to support a full range of needs for large transportation agencies. With the new additions to the fare payment system, PATH can finalize its implementation and continue to create a world-class, customer-friendly system for riders,” said Jeff Lowinger, president, CTS.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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