Cubic Brings NextCity Strategy to Chicago Transit

Register now

Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. now offers Chicago transportation systems and its patrons a single mobile app for ticketing and contactless fare payments.

Elevated train operator Chicago Transit Authority, commuter rail system Metra and suburban bus operator Pace are included in the $5.4 million deal, which advances Cubic's NextCity strategy in which consumers manage all transportation costs and planning through one app.

Last week, Cubic announced a relationship with the Calgary Parking Authority to implement its ParkPlus system into the transportation ticket and payment services. With ParkPlus, Cubic can provide transportation agencies and their customers with a single account for all transportation and parking payments through a smart card or mobile app.

The arrangement in Chicago does not include a parking agency at this time.

However, the Cubic software will allow Chicago commuters to plan travel around the city and receive real-time alerts from all of the transportation agencies as an extension of the Cubic-supplied Ventra fare payment system through a smartphone's Near Field Communication contactless capabilities.

The contract calls for San Diego-based Cubic to develop the app and host and support the services. The vendor can earn commissions when consumers purchase tickets using the mobile app.

Cubic says Ventra is the first large U.S. fare system that is account-based and built on open standards, meaning riders have the choice to pay directly by tapping contactless credit or debit cards, mobile wallets, and Ventra-branded smart cards. It also uses proof-of-payment mobile ticketing, with both visual inspection and 2D bar codes, along with NFC fare processing.

The new mobile app simplifies the entire process, said Matt Cole, executive vice president and deputy for strategy, business development and diversification for Cubic, in the press release.

"Consumers depend on their mobile devices and we believe the new Ventra mobile app will be a 'must-have' app for public transit users of CTA, Pace and Metra," Cole said.

The transportation systems plan to introduce the mobile app during the first quarter of 2015, adding new features and functions periodically through 2016.

That timetable accelerates the CTA's initial plan announced three months ago that focused on mobile ticketing features and adding funds to the Ventra plastic card through a mobile app. 

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Technology Mobile payments