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Carleton University moves to smart cards

Andrew Hudson   ||   Mar 24, 2017  ||   ,

Canada's Carleton University will make the jump to smart cards for its student U-Pass transit credentials following a successful pilot program conducted last summer.

Per a report from The Charlatan, moving the U-Passes to smart cards will begin this summer and will coincide with new fare gate infrastructure and transit lines set to open later this year. OC Transpo officials say that from a student perspective there will be little to no difference between the old and new U-Passes, only that the new smart cards will feature embedded chip technology that will enable them to be tapped at fare gates or smart card readers on buses.

According to Carleton University, the Universal Transit Pass -- or U-Pass for short -- is a bus pass offered through the University at a discounted rate. The U-Pass carries a compulsory fee for all students enrolled in full-time classes.

With the new credentials, lost cards can also be “hot-listed” or cancelled, reducing the misuse of cards. Previously, OC Transpo employees could not verify card status and thus could not identify students who were no longer eligible for the U-Pass.

The new smart cards will also feature a lower replacement cost in the event of loss or theft. The current replacement cost is $25, with the price increasing for each subsequent replacement. With the new smart cards, however, this cost will be fixed at $25 with no rise for subsequent replacements.

Transitioning to the smart card system will be executed in two stages, with the first round of smart cards having already been issued as part of the pilot project and remaining valid until April 30, 2018. Following the second round of issuance, students will be able to keep theit same U-Pass card for the remainder of their time at Carleton University.

At the end of each semester, students will renew their passes at extender kiosks located on campus. Renewing the credential will ensure the cards will be valid for the following semester. The student U-Passes are non-transferable and cannot be shared, and the renewal process at the start each semester will update the credentials with new expiration dates so that the same cards can be reused.

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