Here’s why an automated fare collection system is making a wave in the industry. Since digital payment gateways and real-time payments are gaining more attention for the purpose of collection of fare in transportation services. With numerous benefits of automated fare collection like its better process management system, effective system planning, and good revenue generations, it will replace the traditional ticketing system in the coming days. The demand for a hassle-free and smooth transport system is rising along with the development in rail and road transport infrastructure increasing the demand for automated fare collection.
What is an automated fare collection system?
An automated fare collection (AFC) system consists of the pool of components that are assembled so as to automate the ticketing system in the public transport network. Software and hardware are the two components of AFC. It is designed with the concept of providing a fast and reliable payment system. In many metropolitan or smart cities, automated fare collection has become one of the basic equipment in the stations and bus stops. AFC consists of an automatic gate machine, ticket checking machine, and ticket vending machine. This system makes the fare collection process more safe and accurate. The ticketing system is a majorly contactless smart token or card type.
There is rapid and mass transit of a large number of passengers in the cities of both developed and developing countries and in order to handle such mass, proper and efficient fare collection has become the need of the hour. An automated ticket collection system has been deployed in transport facilities. Since manual fare collection systems require much staff, it is time-consuming and may cause more traffic resulting in the discomfort of the passengers. Ticket Vending Machine (TVM), Ticket Office Machine (TOM), fare gates, and IC cards are the type of machines required in the automated fare collection system. This system is commonly used in railways, parking, cinema halls, and other transportation services.
AFC systems have been accepted globally for the Metro environment. There are many advantages of Automatic fare collection systems over manual collection systems like AFC requires less staff, avoids frauds, less leakage of revenue, etc. Automatic fare collection is easy and efficient to operate. The passenger or the user can generate tickets for their journey on their own. By application of AFC in stable and integrated platforms can make keep the flow of passengers to run smoothly at peak hours. AFC ensures Fast transactions with the use of a contactless smart card lowers the boarding time.
Electronic ticketing lessens the chances of theft as what occurs commonly in physical currency. It reduces the cost of revenue collection as compared to paper-based ticketing since the system is automated. As smart cards or tokens are reusable therefore the costs of printing, handling, and distribution of paper tickets are also minimized. In AFC, passengers’ entry and exit are automatically recorded at fare gates. With all these advantages, the implementation of AFC in a city’s transportation facilities improves the image of the city and also increases the convenience of transportation, therefore helps in making the life of the people easier.
Trends followed in this system
The technologies included in the automated fare collection system are optical character recognition (OCR), magnetic strip, near field communication (NFC), and smart cards. Advancement in these technologies resulting in improving their performances of machines.
- Smart card- in AFC, smart cards are used in which cards are accessed at the terminals and the information is sent to the destination by the servers, accordingly, the amount gets deducted from the card. These cards are recharged by top-ups. Card-based fare collection is an example of a closed-loop solution system. Contactless debit and credit cards can also be an option in the coming days. The technology of contactless card payment is accelerating globally.
- Magnetic stripe- Magnetic-stripe tickets are small cardboard-like tickets that have one or more stripe of oxidized material encoded to hold data. This data present on the stripe is read by authorized machines. It is not totally magnetic in nature but consists of oxidized material configured with the magnet. Magnetic-stripes contain data in the form of bits. Magnetic-stripe tickets are used in various fields including fare collection and it finds its application in passes, journey base tickets, stored value, and transfers.
- Near field communications (NFC) - NFC works on radio frequency identification (RFID) based technology that enables communication from distance to four inches or less. Smart cards need to be inserted in the machine in contrast NFC is contactless. It uses unpowered chips on the cards that communicate with the on-board in the fare collection system. NFC is easier to use than smart cards.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) - in OCR image of handwritten or typed letters or texts are electronically converted into machine-encoded text. It usually involves matrix matching and finds its applications in various fields including fare collection systems. It is an advanced technology.
The automated fare collection system market has been witnessing rapid growth as the demand for automation anticipation in the fare collection system is increasing. Since the automated fare collection system is cost-effective and improves the transportation services, most of the cities are planning to deploy it in transport facilities. The rail and road transport infrastructure is also showing promising development and will drive the automated fare collection system market in the forecast period. Furthermore, more TVMs are been deployed in metro stations, subways, and local bus transit networks are expected to lead the increase in the demand of these machines in the automated fare collection system market.
The rising demand of the public for an efficient transportation system has led to the distribution of an automated fare collection system in both developing as well as developed countries are fuelling the market and predicted to show rapid demand in the forecast period.