Houston has a problem

Translink says it's "very pleased" with Cubic Transportation Systems Inc.'s past work for the authority. But not everyone has had such a congenial relationship with Cubic - which has hired the premier's former special advisor to talk to the Campbell administration about a government initiative to reduce fare cheating and improve security by installing electronic turnstiles at every SkyTrain and Canada Line station by 2010. According to the Houston Business Journal, in April 2005, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County alleged Cubic breached its contract with the agency by failing "to deliver a working smart card system" - similar to the one being contemplated by the British Columbia government - on time.

So the authority filed a claim seeking $4.5 million in damages. Cubic had earlier filed a lawsuit seeking to bar the authority from terminating the company's contract. And it's most recent annual report states management believes "both the customer's default notice and claim for damages are unsupported" and that its work had been "substantially completed" prior to the authority terminating Cubic's contract. TransLink corporate and public affairs vice-president Bob Paddon says the authority is aware of the legal dispute, which is ongoing. TransLink's present electronic farebox system was supplied by Cubic.

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