Transit agencies traditionally used cash fare systems, but some agencies have introduced automated fare media by expanding fare payment to electronic, magnetic stripe contact cards and more recently to smart cards. A smart card is a contactless, reusable, prepaid card that includes an embedded microchip to monitor fare transactions and stored balance. Transit agencies view smart cards as a potentially revolutionary advancement due to their benefits, which include convenience, greater fare flexibility, operational cost savings, service enhancements, decreased fare processing time, centralized fare collection, more efficient fare pricing, and greater capacity for data compilation of ridership and travel behavior.
== Interagency coordination ==
Automated fare media can be used to consolidate fare media among several agencies within a region. This has the benefit of making transfers between agencies more simple and straightforward for transit customers.
[[File:Clipper_card.jpg|thumb|right|300px|The Clipper Card is an automated fare medium used by in the San Francisco Bay Area seven of the region's transit agencies. Photo by Flickr user sam_churchill.]]
==Reducing vehicle dwell time==