Author: Ana Stanca
Demand Generation Leader, Enghouse Transportation
Disruptive technologies are expanding what’s possible, giving consumers a greater choice in how they travel and changing their expectations. Options such as Ubers, scooters or even switching to remote working, are increasing the competition for public transportation agencies.
Expanding accessibility while creating truly integrated urban transport systems is all-important. Cities and regions have set ambitious carbon reduction targets which will require commuters to switch from private vehicles to public transport if they’re to be met.
Fare systems will play a pivotal role in facilitating this transition. The easier it is to access transit and the more flexible the payment options, the likelier it is that passenger numbers will increase.
The problem with Closed-Loop fare systems
Proprietary Closed-Loop fare systems are currently commonplace across North America. While these were once a practical solution as transit moved from the limitations caused by cash-only payments, they are rapidly becoming anachronistic.
Although faster than credit card payments and eliminating the need for passengers to carry cash, Closed-Loop fare systems present a range of obstacles for riders. Customers need to understand the system, purchase a specific card, carry it, and ensure it has enough credit to pay for travel. These issues can act as a disincentive to would-be passengers.
Automated fare collection systems (AFCs) are increasingly replacing cumbersome Closed-Loop systems and delivering real benefits for passengers and operators alike.
What to look for in an automated fare collection system
AFC is faster and more convenient for transit riders. Once deployed, it lowers operating costs for transit agencies while providing greater efficiency for frontline employees.
There is a proliferating range of AFCs available, and not all options are the same. Transit agencies need to be confident that they are working with a provider who has deep experience in advanced transportation markets. In practice, this means Europe and Asia, where the deployment of AFCs is more advanced.
AFCs should deliver immediate improvements to transaction speeds, reducing boarding time dwell times. A solution that’s backed by the Cloud should be able to process a high volume of activity without slowing down.
An AFC should be flexible enough to adapt, and able to accommodate the operator’s unique fare system. A modular, open-architecture structure ensures that all the system’s components work together seamlessly, and elements can be replaced as and when required. The system should also be scalable and able to cope with changing services and growing demands.
Customers should be able to manage their accounts via an app, freeing up customer service resources for problem resolution. It should also consolidate any credit card charges reducing the cost for passengers and making transit more affordable.
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