How single validation points simplify transit operations

June 16, 2020 Sanford Weinberg

A single validation point reduces confusion and speeds fare transactions

With the rapidly growing popularity of mobile ticketing applications and low-cost barcoded tickets, transit agencies are now adding barcode scanners to their fare collection projects. 

Today, accommodating multiple forms of payment for transit tickets is an important feature of any fare collection system. Transit agencies are expanding fare payment choices beyond agency-issued cards. That's because travelers want to use their favorite payment method of choice for shopping, whether it’s a bank card, a smartphone or even a smart device such as a smart watch. 

As nations begin to emerge from stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic, transit agencies are focusing on ways to streamline revenue collection, as well as the importance of making informed decisions about how to deploy resources and reduce operating costs. 

Before the advent of today’s machine-readable fare media, transit agencies primarily relied on bus operators to visually inspect prepaid passes or ticket validators to print a timestamp on a paper ticket. Data collection was often no more than an afterthought. Now that the contactless smart card is nearly ubiquitous, agencies are using sophisticated data analytics to evaluate ridership data to optimize route designs, schedules, and vehicle capacities.

Likewise, the speed of modern fare systems has dramatically reduced dwell times, greatly improving schedule adherence. In some cases, these efficiencies have even allowed for a reduction in vehicle deployments, while maintaining reliable, efficient service performance. 

However a growing number of payment options can threaten some of these advances. For example, if agencies cannot easily determine where a mobile ticket user boarded a vehicle, they lose the ability to accurately measure ridership. If users cannot quickly determine how to process their fares, or if the fare media validator is difficult to use, dwell times may increase, potentially reversing gains in schedule adherence. 

The Solution

It's imperative to design a fare validator that allows users to present any type of contactless, machine-readable media in the same way, using the same motions, at the same location.

Sharing a common ergonomic design can help make it easier to use the same validation gesture, no matter whether the validation point is located inside a vehicle or on a train platform. This also helps make it easier for both frequent and occasional travelers to quickly understand what is needed to complete fare collection and/or validation. A single validation point also helps complete quicker payment transactions, providing a simple flow for travelers onboard the transit vehicle.

For travelers, the ultimate goal is to readily present any type of fare media, using the same gesture to pay for each ride. Using ergonomic design not only provides fast transactions to maintain low dwell times, but by including barcodes, the validator records every transaction, giving agencies comprehensive ridership data that can help manage and efficiently plan transit services.

With over 50,000 validators deployed in projects for transit authorities in Montreal, Israel, Rotterdam, and Dubai, among others, Conduent Transportation has made fare collection media validation and payment verification quick and simple for travelers.

For more information about our ticketing validators, or to learn how clients use our single validation point solution, please reach out to me by email.

 

About the Author

Sanford Weinberg

Sanford Weinberg is Senior Business Lead Development for the U.S. Transit division of Conduent Transportation

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