The TTC plans to sign a contract this year for the development of a fare system that will allow riders to get on board by waving their credit or debit cards, and possibly even cellphones, at the turnstile, Adam Giambrone says.

The TTC chair told the Toronto Star that a request-for-proposal will go out in early August, with a winning bid hopefully chosen in the fall for a rollout to start in 2011.

“It will be an open payment system that will let you use your credit card or debit card at the turnstile, with a wave or a tap, for use on subways, buses and streetcars, to pay either per ride or to load your various transit passes,” similar to transit systems in New York City and Chicago, Giambrone said.

In April, the TTC said it was studying the technology, similar to that of Mastercard’s PayPass system. Giambrone said the request-for-proposal will include possible use of chip-enabled cellphones.

The Davenport councillor revealed the plan when asked for his reaction to a pledge by mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi to have the TTC quickly implement the province’s Presto smart card.

“If I am elected, in just three short months, Toronto is going to finally get some customer service and new thinking in their transit system,” with a TTC-wide adoption of Presto and later use of it for other city services including Toronto Zoo admission and payment of parking tickets, Rossi said.

Later, he said through his spokeswoman Patricia Best that he will “absolutely” try to kill the open payment system if he is elected mayor after a contract is signed.

Giambrone said the TTC will likely offer Presto or a similar card — also allowing entry with a swipe or tap, without tokens and transfers — for those who can’t or don’t want to use credit or debit cards, including children, as well as continuing with cash and tokens.