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Explained: The Different Types of Automated Fare Collection

Types of Automated Fare Collection

One key area of an efficient transport operator includes the management of fare collection. With advancements in technology, automated fare collection has become a great option for many transportation companies.

In this article, we’ll take you through the different types of automated fare collection (AFC), and the benefits of these systems.

What are the Different Types of Automated Fare Collection?

AFC is an intelligent process that involves the collection of various types of fares from passengers, without the use of manual or physical tools – like cash transactions or coin machines.

This is achieved using AFC systems, which allow any fares to be received and validated efficiently through intricate software. Riders can complete their journeys with ease and the transportation company can smoothly process the payments.

What type of AFC system is implemented will vary depending on the needs of the transit agency or operator, and what is offered by the AFC software provider. There are different forms of AFC systems, including:

1. Card-based and Account-based Ticketing Systems

With card-based ticketing, all the crucial data for fare collection – account, product, and travel information – is stored directly on the fare media, which is typically a card. This can often be another form of fare media, such as a smart token, but a card is the most common.

When the card is scanned on the device, the device calculates the fares, and the current balance is written to the card, where all the information is held. This happens on each media presentation to the device and is a traditional card-centric model.

With account-based ticketing, all the travel and account information is stored on a back-office system, as opposed to the card or token. The back office manages the fare calculation and applies necessary rules to the account.

When you present your card or token to the device, the back office is notified of the action and performs the necessary actions on the account, informing the device of the result. This is known as a fare media model.

2. Closed Loop and Open Loop AFC Systems

With closed-loop AFC systems, the devices will only accept specific cards which have been configured for use on the operator’s services. This can be travel cards, for example, which are for exclusive use with transit operators.

When dealing with an open loop AFC system, the devices can accept a wide variety of payments outside of the scheme, for increased convenience for riders and operators.

For example, this can include EMV payments, or contactless EMV (cEMV) payments on board the service – not just travel cards.

Essentially, to find the best type of AFC, ensure you choose a provider with vast experience in delivering high-quality systems for monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting every aspect of your transportation fares.

What are the Benefits of Automated Fare Collection?

There are various benefits to using AFC, including:

1. More Ease and Efficiency

Using an AFC system can be an easier and more efficient method of processing fares.

Each time a rider needs to pay a fare, their transaction can be completed with the utmost speed through the cloud-native software. This will not only allow faster payments and total visibility over fare management but ensure there are no delays in data collection.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Using an efficient AFC system, riders no longer need to queue up to purchase a physical ticket or spend time looking for spare cash to put in a machine to fund their journey.

Instead, accessible and instant purchases can be made on their mobile device, for example, where they can easily see what fare options they can buy.

This creates a more satisfying experience for riders, and a smoother inflow of customers using the transportation services.

3. Prompt Resolutions for any Issues

Also, there can often be the option to use remote device management to discover any issues which could arise with devices and validators.

This could be, for instance, if a validator has stopped working, or is not properly processing transactions from riders.

By identifying and addressing these issues promptly, you can create a more satisfying customer experience.

As well as this, operators can run a more efficient service, and won’t risk losing out on any potential revenue due to issues with devices.

Now you know the different types of AFC available, as well as the range of benefits it can bring, get in touch with an expert AFC provider today!


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