TranSys, a UK private finance initiative project made up of Electronic Data Systems Corp, ICL Plc, Cubic Corp and WS Atkins Consultants Ltd, will implement the changes to London’s public transport network that will see the introduction of a smart card ticketing system, named Prestige. Passengers using the Prestige system should see faster purchase times and faster passage through the barriers. EDS, who will undertake the operational responsibilities for delivering Prestige, and Cubic, the ticketing organization that already supplies London Underground’s current ticket system, will be responsible for the supply and maintenance of all new technology, have equal stakes in the TranSys consortium. ICL, which has a 20% stake, will deliver the till technology and the new central computing systems, while WS Atkins, who has a 5% stake, will provide traffic planning and consultancy services. All London Underground stations will be fitted with the latest gating technology, new passenger operated ticket selling devices with touch screen, multi-lingual interfaces, and new tills in ticket offices to allow a greater range of payment methods. All of London’s 6,000 buses will be fitted with the new ticketing machines and TranSys is certain that the amount of ticket fraud will be substantially reduced. The smart cards that travelers will use will be charged up with either a season ticket, enabling unlimited travel for a certain period, or with money which will be deducted when a journey is made. It is possible that London Transport will integrate the smart card system with other products from other organizations, on a loyalty-type basis. The system will be fully operational within three to four years. TranSys is investing some 180m pounds in the scheme, and London Transport won’t have to pay anything until it is completed. Once it is up and running, London Transport will pay TranSys on a performance-related basis whereby if the system fails, the organization won’t have tp pay. If all goes to plan, London Transport will pay TranSys around 1bn pounds over a 17-year period. Hong Kong and Seoul already use a smart card travel system, but when Prestige is in operation, it is likely to be the world’s most advanced smart card travel system.
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