Technological advancement has achieved things that wouldn’t be deemed possible a couple of decades ago. Improvements can be seen everywhere; one such development is establishing Automated fare collection.
What is Automated fare collection?
Transport systems have evolved the fare system from manual to automated. Nowadays, instead of lining up in a queue to purchase manual tickets, AFC has introduced travel cards (e.g., MetroCard) that can be topped off either online or via vending machines placed at every station. There are travel tokens that commuters can take using self-servicing booths. The cashless fare system aims to make commuters’ lives more comfortable and those responsible for the transport system, i.e., government and transport operators.
Benefits of ATC:
One of the most significant improvements in the reduction in the time it takes to purchase tickets. The automated fare collection system allows commuters to travel without queuing up to buy tickets. Instead, they can use Smart Cards topped up with travel credits to travel back and forth. This way, they can save time and reach their destinations on time.
Promotions & Discounts
Travel cards often come with promotions and discounts that users can avail after reaching the required travel points, e.g., a 20% discount, free rides, etc. Moreover, one Smart Card can be used across all local train stations.
Reduced maintenance costs
Previously, manual ticketing meant token/paper ticket machines. These would incur high operational costs due to malfunction from time to time. ATC has solved this issue to a great extent. Cashless payment via Smart Card does not involve heavy-set ticket machines, and therefore, the maintenance costs are considerably low.
During rush hours, it may not be easy to keep track of all payments, primarily via manual ticketing. ATC travel cards like Smart Card keep track of all payments made by the cardholder, along with their details. That way, fraud risk is minimized to a great degree.
ATC and Covid-19
The pandemic breakout of Covid-19 has accelerated the need for cashless/online payments. The public is advised to practice social distancing. However, it is not as easy for people who rely on public transports. Fortunately, ATC allows quick and seamless traveling without queuing up in congested spaces to purchase tickets. Though the system existed in the pre-pandemic world as well, its value is only now being highlighted.
Designed per increasing public demand for cashless payments, AFC is systemized to improve on the shortcomings of manual fare collection. It is safe to say that automated fare collection has made our lives easier. Gone are the days when traveling during rush hours was a dreadful prospect. The development and implementation of the ATC system have enabled commuters to pay their fares either on the spot (Smart Card) or purchase the e-ticket pre-travel.