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TransLink inks deal for cards, turnstiles

London has the Oyster card. Metro Vancouver will soon have a TransLink equivalent smart card. Residents can vote online on three names: Starfish

TransLink has signed a contract to bring smart cards to the transit system and turnstiles to SkyTrain.

Winning bidders Cubic Transportation Systems and IBM Canada will work with TransLink to finalize the design and schedule. The system is to activated in 2013.

TransLink's project budget is $171 million, with $70 million in contributions coming from the federal and provincial governments.

About $84 million goes to Cubic for the capital cost of the operating system, the supply and installation of the faregates, smart card vending machines, readers and related equipment. Much of the remaining budget is to retrofit SkyTrain stations to accommodate turnstiles.

The contract also includes 10 years of operating and maintenance.

The new system is expected to improve efficiency, effectiveness and security of the transit network – deterring fare evasion – as well as providing a more convenient single card payment method.