New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be looking across the pond for ideas on how to improve service and management and how to address its capital needs.

Last week the MTA approved an agreement to cooperate with Transport for London, which runs London's mass transit system.

The authority's new chairman and chief executive officer, Jay Walder, served as Transport for London's managing director of finance and planning from 2000 to 2006.

Under the cooperation agreement, the two transit agencies will exchange information about how to use new technology for fare and toll collections, strategic planning, security, environmental issues, and project management.

The two agencies will also share information on economic matters, including public finance, public-private partnerships, and financial analysis of new capital investments.

The MTA board approved a noncompetitive contract with the London agency for up to $500,000 to pay for expert services requests. MTA chief operating officer Charles Monheim and Transport for London managing director for finance and planning Steve Allen will coordinate exchanges of information and services between the two agencies.

Walder has said he hopes to implement a version of the Oyster Card system used in London that allows riders to pay fares by tapping a card on a reader rather than swipe a card to gain entrance to buses and the subway system.

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