Cubic Smart Card System Gains Momentum for San Diego Public Transit

The greater convenience, flexibility and security provided by the Compass Card are catching on with public transit riders in the San Diego region, where Cubic Transportation Systems, the transportation business unit of Cubic, has delivered the new regional smart card system.

Almost two-thirds of San Diego County's 90,000 active pass users have converted to the Compass Card since the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) introduced it last May. Compass will be rolled out to the last of the region's pass holders in April, with full deployment expected a month later. SANDAG handles transportation planning, transit construction, and other infrastructure projects in the San Diego region. More than 290,000 customers ride public transportation in the county each day.

The Compass Card is a reusable, reloadable transit pass that is replacing traditional paper passes. Riders "tap" their cards on electronic validators as they board buses and at Trolley and train stations to access transit. Cubic's open platform captures Compass Card usage by station providing better ridership data for service planners. The system also integrates fare product sales devices, station validators and other revenue collection devices providing streamlined reporting and management. It has also been delivered to a number of major cities around the world.

Other features have recently been introduced to the Compass Card system, giving riders more options and convenience for buying and reloading their smart cards.

Customers also have the option of registering for automatic reload. The system links a customer's Compass Card to a credit card, automatically reloading the card with a monthly pass at a predetermined time.

"It's quick, it's simple and I don't have to think about whether my monthly pass has expired," said Chris Graves, a business executive who rides the Express Bus from Poway to downtown San Diego. "I just touch and go."

Compass Card monthly passes also can be purchased or reloaded at sales terminals available at all 56 Vons grocery stores in San Diego County, as well as transit stores and other locations.

"We plan to add more fare products such as stored value and day passes in the coming months," said James Dreisbach-Towle, Program Manager for SANDAG. "We are pleased with the ability the system gives us to better manage transit ridership data and adjust services to meet customer needs."

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