Transit agencies have traditionally used cash fare systems, but cash is expensive to transport, count, and guard. It can also be inconvenient for riders to have to pay an exact fare for each leg of a trip. For these reasons, many agencies have introduced automated fare media by expanding fare payment to electronic, magnetic stripe contact cards and more recently to
smart card is a contactless, reusable, prepaid card that includes an embedded microchip to monitor fare transactions and stored balance. Payment is processed through a microchip using [[near field communications]] or [[radio frequency identification (RFID)]]. 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.
Several U.S. transit agencies have also deployed mobile ticketing solutions. They include TriMet, San Diego, Boston, and Dallas. Riders can install applications on their smartphones
==Types of Systems==
Automated fare media can come in a variety of formats and can even include credit and debit cards. One key point to remember is that there are two types of systems: open and closed. Open systems accept payment through fare media issued by an entity outside of the transit system, such as a bank or a university. Closed systems only accept payment forms issued by that system.
Transit system management of fare collection can be a costly endeavor and there may be some advantages to outside management of the fare payment system. However, with credit and debit cards, some of the advantages of prepayment will be lost.<ref name="tcrp32">
Transit Cooperative Research Project. [http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/153815.aspx “TCRP Report 32: Multipurpose Transit Payment Media.”] 1998.</ref>
== Interagency coordination ==
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.<ref>
Federal Transit Administration. [http://www.fta.dot.gov/12351_4362.html "Fare Collection."]</ref></blockquote>
==Resistance to use of smart cards==
There are many reasons why riders would choose to use cash for fare payment rather than
smart cards or other prepaid fare payment. Reasons include the perception that the initial cost of obtaining the card will not be worth the investment, the fear of losing a pre-paid card’s value, concerns about [[Privacy Issues|privacy issues]], and the convenience of cash for the occasional rider.<ref name="tcrp32" />
Hiroyuki, Alexander Demisch, Brian D. Taylor, and Allison C. Yoh. [[media:Evaluating_Smart_Cards. pdf|“Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Transit Smart Cards.”] ] 2008.: This study examines the cost-benefit analysis strategies of three transit agencies prior to implementation of smart card systems for fare payment . It was produced through the University of California's PATH program, in cooperation with the State of California's Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, as well as the California Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. The systems studied are the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
Federal Highway Administration. [http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13479.html "Ventura County Fare Integration: A Case Study; Promoting Seamless Regional Fare Coordination."] 2001.
: This report by the Federal Highway Administration is a case study of Ventura County, California's transition to using several Intelligent Transportation Systems, including contactless fare cards, or smart cards. The report includes a description of the lessons learned from this multi-jurisdictional transition. Most importantly, the report outlines the institutional needs, the technical requirements, the methods for gaining customer acceptance, and lessons learned to make the program more successful.
American Public Transit Association. [ http: //aptastandards. com/Documents/PublishedStandards/Farecard/tabid/331/language/en-US/Default. aspx "Manual of Standards and Practices for Universal Transit Farecards. "] 2006-2009. : This link leads to five chapters of standards for use of contactless fare cards. The chapters were each written between 2006 and 2009 by the American Public Transit Association's Standards program. These standards are practitioner-focused and include an overview of contactless cards in general, as well as more technical chapters on the security and maintenance of systems that use them. Federal Transit Administration. [[media:ElectronicFareCollectionOptionsforCommuterRailroads. pdf|“Electronic Fare Collection Options for Commuter Railroads.”]] 2009.
: This 2009 study from the Federal Transit Administration describes the experiences of six commuter railroad systems that have begun using automated fare media, including 'contact' and 'contactless' fare cards. Case studies include San Diego's Coaster commuter rail line. Lessons learned are specifically tailored to commuter rail systems.