TransLink plans to install an electronic fare-payment system on its rapid transit network by 2013.

The plan includes a Smart Card system designed to increase efficiency. Turnstiles at SkyTrain and SeaBus station entrances will likely reduce fare evasion, an oft-discussed problem among TransLink critics.

 "Smart Cards will make our transit system easier to use for the customers and provide invaluable information that will help us maximize the efficiency and productivity of our fleets," said TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis in a statement. "Faregates will address the public's long-standing concern with fare evasion on SkyTrain and will promote a greater sense of security."

The fare charged to the card may be based on the route, distance traveled, time of day and other factors.

Three companies-- Cubic/IBM, Serco/Parkeon, and Thales/Octopus-- have been asked to submit proposals next month. TransLink hopes to make a decision by year's end with work to begin in 2011.

The B.C. government will pay $40 million of the cost with the federal government providing another $30 million. TransLink will take on the remaining cost.