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Monday , 24 January 2022

Automated Fare Collection System for Public Transport

A broad portfolio of Mikroelektronika, a leading Czech company’s products allows for the creation of fare collection systems that suit the exact needs of each and every customer depending on the mode of transport, mode of payment, tariff policy and a whole range of other factors.

Automated Fare Collection

A complex fare collection system, also known as automated fare collection (AFC) covers a complete range of services for passengers, transport inspection as well as provides full system control. AFC deals with the distribution of fare documents, for example, paper tickets or contactless chip cards using vending machines, points of sale, driver sale or online services. It subsequently provides validation of fare documents on the vehicle or at the station. Or, where appropriate, it allows for direct payment in cash, by cell phones, by using an electronic purse or a bank card. Sometimes validation is connected with access control using turnstiles and gates. Similarly important is follow-up work with the operating data obtained, its evaluation, clearing, the creation of reports and statistics, connection to related systems and so on.

Fare document distribution

Distribution devices are chosen according to the type of fare document or media. Most commonly used are paper tickets and contactless chip cards. Our devices enable commuters to buy tickets from vending machines at stops/stations or from mobile machines on vehicles themselves, or indeed from the driver using a ticket issuing device. Tickets are also available from a network of other vendors. The same method can be used to distribute contactless cards, even though sales points are more commonly used for this purpose, primarily for cards that need to be personalised in some way. Passengers can then top-up their cards using vending machines or multipurpose terminals, using the services of the driver or over the Internet. Other types of fare documents include mobile phone applications with NFC technology, SMS tickets or other types of cards.

Validation and payment

The ways of validating fare documents differ depending on the type of transport. Most suitable for open systems such as bus or tram transport are on-board validators. Stationary validators, perhaps in connection with turnstiles and gates, are the best options for underground services, BRT (Bus Rapid Transport), over-ground metro and railways. In addition to the validation of standard fare documents, direct payments using contactless bank cards (EMV) are also coming to the fore and they are supposed to be the next main means of payment in public transport. They provide the same level of comfort as contactless Mi-fare cards but in addition to that, they break the last obstacle in fare payment. A passenger doesn’t need to acquire a special card, top up money or buy ticket in advance. He or she just simply gets on a vehicle and pays a fare with bank card anytime and anywhere. Mikroelektronika is a leading company in this field and already provides solutions including contactless bank card payment for any kind of transport.

Inspection on vehicles

After getting on to a vehicle a transport inspector places inspector’s card to the vehicle validator. This provides him all information necessary for transport inspection and subsequently transfers it into the inspector’s card reader. At the same time all validators can be blocked so that passengers are unable to validate their cards during the inspection.

The inspector’s reader automatically checks whether cards are valid based on the required parameters, which differ depending on the type of fare collection system and the fare structure. The considered parameters might be, for example, presence of a time coupon, time interval since validation, presence of a document bought using an electronic purse, valid area, zone, presence of a card on the blacklist etc. If required, the reader can also print out a document, such as confirmation of paid fine.

All information about inspections is stored in the memory for later processing. The operator therefore has an overview of the documents inspected and of the work of the inspector.

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