SEPTA has postponed for a third time its deadline for a "smart-card" fare system.
The latest deadline is Aug. 18, five months later than the original March 17 requirement for manufacturers to submit proposals for an electronic system to replace tokens and paper tickets for its buses, subways, trolleys, and trains.
With a smart card, passengers would be able to wave a card at a sensor on a turnstile or fare box and be on their way.
SEPTA says it wants a system that will allow passengers to use credit cards, prepaid SEPTA cards, and even cell phones to pay for their trips.
The process has fallen more than six months behind the schedule announced by SEPTA in November, when the agency said it hoped to award a contract by April. Now the contract is unlikely to be awarded before the fall.
It will be several years before a system can be built and installed. The system is expected to cost about $100 million, although SEPTA has urged bidders to offer innovative financing proposals, such as public-private partnerships, to reduce the cost to the agency.
SEPTA's intentionally vague request for proposals, which left many specifics of how the system should work up to the bidders, has made it more difficult for bidders to figure out how to create a new fare system.
The latest delay was caused by "additional questions about intellectual property," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerria Williams. "There were questions about who would own the rights to the system."
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