Ventra to roll into Chicago

Greetings everyone!

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the Chicago CTA will be introducing a radically new method of transit fare payment. This new payment system is called Ventra, which will heavily emphasize the use of contactless payment cards to speed up boarding of buses and trains, help improve efficiency throughout the entire CTA system, and modernize fare payment for the 21st Century.

What is this all about?

Ventra is part of an effort by the City of Chicago to provide an open fare/payment structure for its transit system, the first of it’s kind in the nation. Why is this being done? Beacuase nowadays, more and more people are utilizing contactless methods of payment when going about making everyday purchases. This includes contactless credit and debit cards (which are equipped with RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, chips), as well as smartphone apps that allow people to make purchases without having to make a single card swipe. For a while now, the major credit card companies have had contactless payment systems and cards to allow people to simply hover their card over the contactless interface that is equipped on credit card terminals to make a purchase at various businesses. One example of this is Express Pay, provided by American Express. Yes, I did mention smartphones. Many people now use smartphones to make purchases as well, including the use of QR readers, so that they don’t have to dig out their wallets for change or even their credit or debit card. Instead, people simply take a photo of a special code box that contains (a lot of) data and vola! Purchase made! In addition, many major banks are adopting contactless methods as well, including various smartphone apps, to make life easier.

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Happy New Year! ~ 2013…here we go!

Happy New Year everyone! With the start of 2013, I would like to let everyone know what I am working on for the month of January. Some of the posts that I am planning out include:

  • Ventra: An innovative common-use transit payment system that is being implemented this year throughout the Chicago transit system.
  • Paris Metro Line 12: From it’s beginnings as the Nord-Sud Line A, to its recent extension towards the northern Parisian suburb of Aubervillers, Line 12 is a vital north-south axis for the city’s growing subway system.
  • Part 3 of my fantasy subway system for Norfolk, VA: Where I focus on Line 3 of the fictional subway system, which connects the military hubs of Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana near Virginia Beach. The fictional line also passes by Norfolk International Airport.
  • Part 1 of my fantasy rail system for Tampa Bay, FL: Since I’ve been talking quite a bit about my fantasy subway for Norfolk, I thought about reviving my fantasy rail system for Tampa. I originally sketched up a map of possible light rail and commuter rail lines prior to the defeat of the 2010 sales tax referendum.

Plus: Updates on HART MetroRapid, and MLK Holiday transit services.

In the next couple of days, I hope to have a poll question posted as well. This question will be in regards to the medians of Interstate 275 in Tampa. I won’t go too in depth, as to not spoil the surprise. However, some of you may have an idea of what I’ll be asking.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out Zac Ziegler’s latest post on Tampa’s light rail ambitions. This post comes not very long after a recent poll showed that many Tampanians now support a sales tax increase that would help fund light rail…something that seemed unclear just two years ago. If you haven’t read up on his other post regarding the 1% sales tax for transit, which he describes what could have happened if the 2010 sales tax referendum in Hillsborough County had passed, then I invite you to read that post as well, as I found it to be a very good read.

Also, I’ve made some updates to the About and Projects pages.

I hope that your 2013 is filled with joy and prosperity!

Warmest Regards:

HARTride 2012