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Fare Evasion

The Role of Automated Fare Collection Systems in tackling Fare Evasion

In the world of public transit, fare evasion represents a significant challenge, impacting revenues and the fairness of the system for paying riders. This article covers recent fare evasion trends and how an automated fare collection system can be an important tool to tackle the issue.


What is Fare Evasion?

Fare evasion happens when riders use public transportation services without paying the required fare. This can range from sneaking onto a bus behind a paying rider or through rear doors to more advanced methods like using invalid currency to manipulating how they present fares for visual validation. It not only leads to financial losses for transit agencies but also contributes to safety concerns and a degradation of service quality.

Fare Evasion Trends in North America

Fare evasion is increasing in North America. Major cities can lose millions annually to this issue. Outdated fare collection and enforcement processes can make evasion low-risk, high-reward. Additionally, the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the issue, as more individuals struggle with financial instability.

More Than Lost Farebox Revenue

Fare evasion can result in more than just lost farebox revenue by undermining the fairness of public transit. This can create an environment where even fare-paying passengers are deterred from paying fares, resulting in more lost revenue. Some researchers have even found that fare evasion can negatively affect the perceived safety and quality of a public transport system. 

Avoiding Disputes

Many public transit operators have started training bus operators and other frontline staff to avoid disputes with riders over fare evasion. This approach recognizes that disputes can escalate into safety risks for both employees and riders. Bus operators are often instructed to observe and report fare evaders rather than directly confronting them.

How an Automated Fare Collection System can Help

An automated fare collection (AFC) system is a key tool that can help tackle fare evasion. Contactless payments and electronic validations reduce the evasion opportunities, ensuring fair compliance and safeguarding revenue. Below we list some key features that are part of TransitFare’s automated fare collection (AFC) system to help address the issue. 

Contactless Payments

TransitFare’s automated fare collection system allows riders to use contactless payments (with NFC smart cards and tags) and/or with barcodes (printed barcodes or mobile ticketing). NFC smart cards and tags have several security features to prevent and detect attempts made to manipulate fares. Plus they are convenient and easy to use.

Secure Bus Validator

TransitFare’s automated fare collection system includes an advanced bus validator that is installed in buses. The bus validator accurately validates any fare payment within fractions of a second, for both NFC smart cards and barcodes. The bus validator gives an easy-to-read validation message to confirm whether or not the rider has the right to board. We also pre-configure the validators with your fare rules, and include common rules to prevent common types of fare evasion attempts like ‘passbacks’, using expired passes, boarding with an expired electronic transfer, etc. 

Powerful Fare Management

TransitFare Cloud is a key part of our automated fare collection platform. It has powerful features that allow you to manage your fare products and validation rules. Our platform supports advanced fare policies like fare capping and dynamic pricing. This includes day and time fares, zone-based fares, and electronic transfer rules.

With the ability to update fare policies and offer targeted discounts or promotions, the system can address fare affordability issues, indirectly reducing the incentive for fare evasion.

Detailed Reporting

TransitFare’s driver console can be configured with a ‘fare evasion’ programmable button that drivers can press to silently report suspected cases. This event appears in TransitFare Cloud’s detailed reporting where further action can be taken, such as making an internal agency note about the rider, blocking the transit account of the rider, etc.

We can Help

By implementing an automated fare collection system, transit agencies can significantly reduce fare evasion rates, ensuring revenue protection and maintaining equity among riders.

Our innovative automated fare collection system gives transit agencies a powerful tool to safeguard farebox revenue and create a culture of fairness and compliance among riders.

Additional Reading

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