The automatic fare collection system (AFC) has gain popularity in developed countries but there are still a lot of places in under-developing countries using cash for public transportation.

The investment of AFC is not small, therefore, choosing the right AFC system provider is important.

Here are the 5 features you should consider:


1. AFC Technology Provider using adequate secure payment technologies

On the reader and smart card technologies, are the security technology sufficient or over-killed?

For example, Mifare Classic card technology has been widely used before but is not suitable for today’s application. The security level is too low and can be easily hacked.
On the other hand, using high-security smart card technology like Mifare Desfire can be too costly to deploy to mass passengers.


2. Availability of the Internet Network

For station to station to railway or subway, the availability of the Internet network should not be a big problem. However, for public buses in under developing countries, the Internet network is not widely available and is not stable.

In the latter cases, the AFC system should be designed to operate in an off-line mode to handle the loss of data caused by the failure of hardware readers. Lost of data can be fatal as it can be lost of money to the operators.

There are not too many suppliers in the world who have good experience in off-line system design.


3. Flexibility with Payment Methods

Passengers may expect to be able to make payment through credit cards, smart cards, mobile ticketing, QR codes, etc., and your AFC provider should be able to accommodate a wide variety of payment methods. However, it will come to a system cost issue.

It is highly recommended to start with the basis smart card system. However, please check if the upgrade from smart card to other payment methods requires a major change of hardware or a need for physical re-installation.

4. Database system for Business Intelligence Reporting

A good AFC system should be able to collect all transaction data which can be analyzed with business intelligence reporting software.

Intelligent reporting can allow better planning of the transportation resources such as better routing, adequate transportation frequency and capacity to optimize the operating cost as well as to provide a better service to the passengers.

5. Integration with Clearing Systems

Initially, AFC is used for a single transportation system, but the operator may want to expand the businesses and services.
Clearing systems can support more than one public transportation operators and also a potential for retail market payment applications.

Clearing systems basically define the credit and liability of each operators or retails in a given period of time.

Comprehensive clearing systems investment can be huge.


To learn more about AFC,

Post Author: Keith Lau

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