Automated fare media
Automated fare media refers to any number of electronic fare media systems designed to improve convenience and speed of fare payment. A "smart card fare payment system" often features magnetic strips or RFID chips to transmit fare payment from the fare media to the card reader.
Automated fare media can be used to consolidate fare media among several agencies within a region.
Reducing vehicle dwell time
An automated fare media can reduce or eliminate the need for transit customers to pay in cash, a typically time-intensive process compared to electronic fare media. Many electronic fare media in use feature the ability to pre-load the fare card with passes or cash value.
The Federal Transit Administration notes:
Many transit agencies offer prepaid fare media, such as a season pass, stored value card, or ticket. If a driver is required to inspect passes, boarding can be longer than with payment in change. An electronic fare box with a card reader can reduce boarding time for pass holders.
Fare cards with a microchip, or smart cards, can allow transit agencies to offer a more sophisticated fare policy. Contactless smart cards need only be waved at a marked spot, and therefore can reduce payment time.