The cost to develop the Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination Project was estimated at $42.1 million.
Made Public Date


United States

Summary Information

The Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination (RFC) Project features smart card technology that will support and link the fare collection systems of the major transit agencies operating in the Central Puget Sound region of Washington State (King County Metro, Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries). The RFC Project will consolidate hundreds of existing fare media in an effort to streamline the management of fare transactions and facilitate cross-jurisdictional and multi-modal trip making in the Puget Sound region.

The RFC Project will allow customers to purchase or revalue regional fare cards (smart cards) from several outlets (e.g., customer service offices, phone, retail outlets, internet), and will enable them to use the smart card on an estimated 2,379 fare transaction processors (2,207 on-board fare transaction processors, 91 stand-alone fare transaction processors, 81 portable fare transaction processors). The fare will be automatically debited from the smart card electronic purse, and/or the card will be acknowledged as a fixed period unlimited ride pass. Each time a card is used, data relating to the date and time the card is used, the amount of fare paid, any incentives applied, the agency providing the service, the route, and if applicable, the institutional account, will be captured and stored electronically. The fare transaction processors have the capacity to access information on the smart card and transfer data to a data acquisition computer. The regional revenue clearinghouse will perform transaction processing, revenue reconciliation, and financial reporting functions for the RFC system. The RFC Project is presently in the Preliminary Design Review Phase. The costs shown below reflect the amounts included in the vendor contract and the Interlocal Agreement signed by the participating transit agencies.

The total capital cost of the RFC Project is estimated at $42.1 million (nominal), paid out during the 2003-2007 timeframe. This estimate includes all vendor contract cost components, including equipment, equipment installation, fare cards, integration and project management as well as other RFC Project administration costs, including sales tax, contingency fund, and project management team costs. This estimate includes only regionally shared items in the RFC Project capital budget and does not include an estimated $6.4 million in individual agency implementation costs. Cost shares are allocated among the seven participating agencies based on the proportional share of total RFC Project equipment purchased by each agency. Total operations and maintenance costs over a 10-year time horizon are estimated at $32.8 million (nominal). These costs include depot maintenance, software maintenance, customer service, card procurement and distribution, and fare card management. Preliminary operations and maintenance cost shares are distributed among the participating agencies per a formula based on ridership projections for 2005. For example, King County Metro accounts for an estimated 72 percent of total transit ridership in the region. Thus, King County Metro will initially pay 72 percent of the total RFC system operations and maintenance costs. The operations and maintenance cost-sharing formula will be revised annually based on actual transaction data. A more detailed presentation of the RFC Project capital and operations and maintenance budgets, by major expenditure category, is provided below.

Cost ($Nominal)
Equipment purchases 2
Installation costs
Fare card costs
Integration costs 3
Implementation costs 4
Project management and performance security
Training costs 5
Regional project management
Regional technical consultant
Sales tax @ 8.8%
Contingency fund at 20% of vendor contract value
Dispute resolution board
Software escrow account
Project evaluation 6
Project marketing
Sound Transit consultant fee
Total Capital Costs


Cost ($Nominal)
Depot maintenance
On-call maintenance
Technical support maintenance
Software maintenance
Customer service
Institutional programs8
Card procurement and distribution
Fare card management
Clearinghouse services 9
Financial management
Network management
Revalue network support
New card fulfillment
Additional card procurement, inventory, warehousing and distribution functions
Invoicing and funds collection
Total O&M Costs

See also: Evaluation of the Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination Project Report prepared for the U.S. DOT by Battelle, Task 7744. April 13, 2006.

1 Project cost information was accurate at the time the vendor contract was signed, in April 2003. Thus, cost data presented here do not represent final project costs.


2 Equipment purchases include: on-board fare transaction processors, stand-alone fare transaction processors, portable fare transaction processors, driver display units, wireless data systems, data acquisition computers, back office computers, kits for integrating RFC system components with Sound Transit ticket vending machines, customer service terminals and photo ID equipment.

3 Integration costs include those relating to the integration of RFC equipment with existing electronic payment (e.g., ticket vending machines) and data collection systems.

4 Implementation costs include those relating to:
a) Design and development of the entire RFC system, including elements involved in card issuance and revalue functions, passenger fare payment functions, data acquisition systems, revenue management and reconciliation, agency ridership and revenue processing; and,
b) Testing (end-to-end) full system functionality of all components of all systems while operating in revenue service.

5 With respect to training costs, the vendor will be responsible for developing and conducting programs to train personnel in all aspects related to the hardware, support and diagnostic equipment and software provided under the RFC Project contract. Topics of training courses will include: RFC system overview, system operations, repair and maintenance, data management, customer service and marketing. The vendor will also be providing a “train the trainer” course designed to train supervisory personnel at participating agencies to deliver any of the required training courses.

6 Project evaluation costs will support an internal agency before-after evaluation of the impacts of the RFC system.

7 Maintenance costs will be paid by RFC partner agencies to the vendor for maintaining and repairing RFC system equipment and providing technical support over the phone to agency personnel. Technical support shall cover all RFC system software, hardware and system and operational processes necessary for agency operation of the system.

8 Institutional program costs include those tied to the administration of institutional accounts (e.g., Boeing, Microsoft) under the new RFC system, including customer service, fare card management, financial management, clearinghouse services and network management.

9 Clearinghouse services are those relating to the central management and control functions necessary to implement and operate the RFC system, including transaction processing, reconciling and settling all transactions, managing data upload and download between the financial clearinghouse system and all end points, managing system interfaces, managing fare table updates, providing the central database for system reporting, maintaining and operating all clearinghouse system databases, providing and supporting system audits and providing reports to RFC partner agencies.

Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination Project

Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination Project
Publication Sort Date
Balducci, Patrick J.
Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

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System Cost

Total project cost: $42.1 million (Nominal).

Average annual operations and maintenance costs: $3.28 million over first 10 years of project operation (Nominal).