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Findings of Peer Review of Interoperable Smartcard Programs 41 Fare Categories--Adult, student, senior/disabled/Medicare, and operator employee; and Other Features--Balance protection, autoload, secure access. 3.1.8.2 Transit Benefits Program Employer and county programs are under consideration. The employer program has been scheduled to become operational in the first quarter of 2005. 3.1.8.3 Loyalty Program A fair fares or best fare loyalty program is under consideration. 3.1.9 Compass The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), teamed with eight San Diego-area transit operators, is leading the implementation of a smartcard-based fare payment system for the San Diego Region (SDR). The Compass card will be used as fare payment by bus, light rail, and commuter rail customers on the following systems: North County Transit District (NCTD); San Diego Transit Corporation (SDTC); San Diego Trolley, Inc. (SDTI); Chula Vista Transit (CVT); County Transit Systems; Direct Access to Regional Transit (DART); National City Transit (NCT); and MTS Contract Services South Bay. The vision for the project is the result of regional goals that the transit agencies set out to achieve beginning in year 2000, which were to Simplify the use of transit, Remove "barriers" to using transit, Deliver improved passenger amenities, Unify the procurement of AFC equipment, and Automate San Diego's existing manual revenue collection processes. After considering various technologies and approaches, SDR agreed that a regional fare pay- ment system based on smartcard technology would allow them to achieve their new directives, including to Simplify transit fare payment for customers, Improve and enhance agency revenue data collection, and Provide regional clearing and settlement. In September 2002, the Metropolitan Transportation Development Board (MTDB) awarded two separate contracts for the AFC system. (Compass management responsibility has since been transferred to SANDAG.) One contract is with GFI Genfare for bus fareboxes and revenue equip- ment. The second is with Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) for the smartcard and back office systems, including TVMs; Handheld card readers (HCRs); Onboard and platform CIDs; Ticket office terminals (TOTs);