New smart-card machines will be removed out of all Calgary Transit 1,000 city buses and 160 LRT pay machines after repeated glitches and delays.

The Connect project was a $7-million venture, but the city has only lost $500,000 in staff time and consultants, says a Calgary Herald report.  

After two years of working with the Calgary office of Spain-headquartered Telvent, the city will let the firm take back its card readers and software. Early next year Calgary Transit will solicit a new smart-card provider, new launch date unknown, the report says.  

The installs began showing signs of breakdown this spring. With readers installed throughout the transit system, city employees were given plastic cards to try testing Connect, the report says. The machines would fail, and cards with money on them were read as invalid.

In addition to the $500,000 in costs on external contractors, staff time and promotional materials — like key chains and bus posters for a summer 2012 launch — the city will retain about $1 million in “bits and pieces” of bus wiring and behind-the-scenes hardware for use in future transit initiatives, and possibly with a new smart card provider, the report says.  

The Connect smart card was designed to substitute tickets, cash fares and cardboard monthly passes. Users would board buses by tapping a card or key fob on digital readers, and then refill the card with credits online. 



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