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Genfare

eases revenue management


Table of Contents Corporate Overview

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Fare system media integration

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By Wojciech Warias

Upgrading a fare collection system – 4 tips that can make a difference 5 By Kate O’Driscoll

Revenue management best practices

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By the Genfare Team

Control revenue loss with policies and procedures

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By the Genfare Team

Preventative maintenance for modern fare collection

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By Phil Gamperl

The service of fare collection

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By Wojciech Warias

How do agencies lose the most fare revenue?

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By Christina Belmont

Fare collection informs for better data management

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Mobile ticketing – demand is on the rise

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By Darren Dickson

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CORPORATE OVERVIEW Genfare is a leader in providing customized fare solutions to transit agencies of all sizes throughout North America. As a leader in fare collection systems for more than three decades, we focus on delivering solutions that are secure, reliable and highly flexible. Genfare is working to bring the latest innovations in fare control and management to you and your transit customers. Genfare integrated systems encompass the latest in electronic validating fareboxes, smart card and mobile payment options, ticket vending and point of sale card distribution systems, all managed by sophisticated local and web based data processing systems. Genfare‌. shaping the future of fare solutions. ISO 14001 - We care about the environment Genfare is certified according to the demands set in ISO 14001, Environmental Management System. We are doing our part to reduce any negative environmental impact from our production processes. We encourage our customers to continue our efforts by using our products in an environmentally sound manner. ISO 9001 - A commitment to quality Since high quality has always been the trademark of the Genfare brand, quality assurance requirements are nothing new to us. Attention to quality has always been the foundation of what we do for a very simple reason: We have a commitment to meet the needs of our customers through continual product development and improvements both of human resources and production processes.

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Fare system media integration By Wojciech Warias

When an agency is looking to expand or replace their fare collection system, media integration is one of several critical components to consider. Proper planning is crucial for the agency just as it is for the riders it supports. As part of a comprehensive rollout plan, agencies spend a considerable amount of time and resource informing their ridership of an upcoming fare collection change or expansion along with the supporting media implementation. Time is of the essence when introducing new fare media. Planning a step-by-step blueprint of how to implement a system can be one of the most important tasks for an agency and can quickly lead to roadblocks if not properly managed. Essentially, the process can be divided into three major points to ensure a smooth integration. 1. Fare system media marketing 2. Fare media time management 3. Fare system media education Fare system media marketing Marketing is one of the most public sections of the integration process and it serves as an important function in a new systems acceptance. The riders and agency staff will not be eager to accept a new system if they do not know the benefits the system has to offer. Marketing a new fare media system can be very complex and planning a successful campaign can be the most difficult component. The look, feel and goals of the campaign must be established prior to the actual launch; there must be room for change, if necessary. The marketing campaign must have a multi-channel solution to explain and support its fare media integration process. Marketing materials must be created, curated and outlined precisely to educate the riders and agency staff. Questions and concerns will be abundant and thus the agency must be prepared with FAQ sheets, brochures, advertisements, training for employees and everything in between to successfully complete new fare media system integration. Fare media time management As stated, time is of the essence in fare system media integration and it can be the defining factor in its success. One of the key factors is to understand how much time is really necessary for such a significant change in the agency’s usual processes. A significant amount of time will go into the planning stages of the integration as it can take weeks to months to be finalized. One of the first steps an agency will take in order to begin the integration process is decide how it wants the fare media to perform. Agency needs will vary from location to location and it will define how the integration process will have to be handled. The programming of the fare media itself is a serious undertaking and can take weeks to finish between design, branding, programming, quality assurance and testing. The functionality of the fare media is the backbone and foundation of the entire system, thus the execution of it must be as smooth as possible. 4

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Artwork design, approvals, and any changes to the fare media can take up to eight weeks on average. It may seem like an overbearing amount of time, the back and forth communication about the artwork between departments and vendors is bound to take a substantial amount of time. Depending on how the agency functions, the artwork may be reworked and edited countless times before it is sent up as a true, finalized version up the chain of command to be approved and released. Fare system media education The education portion of the integration process is just as important as the actual creation of it. A new fare media system is nothing without a training program attached to it. The agency must execute a proper education process for their staff as well as their riders in order to show correct and most efficient usage. If educated and taught about the system thoroughly, the knowledge can then be spread and passed on to increase efficiency and improve adoption of the new media. Just like the time management or marketing portion of the integration, education can take a phased approach for implementation to simplify it for the riders and agency staff. A full system rollout all at once can be overwhelming for the users and can cause confusion and trouble for the agency. One approach of rolling out the integration is to add the equipment to the transit system first and have the riders and staff learn and become comfortable with that portion of the system before the fare media is introduced. Introducing the equipment first and keeping the fare media the same will allow for a smoother and easier transition for the agency and rider alike. The agency can take steps to teach the public about the equipment and how it benefits them first while allowing them to keep their existing media in place. When the equipment is fully implemented, the agency can establish a time period where the old media begins to be switched out for the new fare media. Riders will have an easier time adjusting and understanding the change and learn how to gain access to the new media to simplify their travel processes. Establishing a cut-off date will hold riders to a deadline and speed up the media transition. “Timing is everything when it comes to a fare collection system rollout,” says Dan Gilfand, director of sales and program management of Genfare. “The more time spent upfront defining the phases of implementation, the easier it will be to make the integration a success.” Planning ahead and using time wisely is the key to providing riders with a dependable and understandable fare media system while simultaneously making the agency’s processes more efficient and dynamic. Genfare 800 Arthur Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 www.genfare.com

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Upgrading a fare collection system – 4 tips that can make a difference By Kate O’Driscoll

When it comes to reliable fare system solutions, there are several key points to consider when upgrading. System review and mapping, phased piloting, training and final installation are a part of a successful fare system upgrade. Our staff has hundreds of years of collective experience in fare system design, development and implementation. Over the last 30-plus years, we’ve assisted many agencies in implementing and upgrading solutions to fare systems. 1. System review and mapping By starting with a system review, system providers will have an opportunity to review any upgrades, changes or integrations an agency has made since the original fare collection system was implemented. The system review will lead to an overall system map of the existing fare collection system. Identifying changes will help the provider plan better and allow for a smoother upgrade process. With the map in place, clearing defining the fare collection upgrade and desired results will help keep both parties on track. Another advantage to system mapping occurs when the upgrade is complete. It’s a good idea to update the system map as the agency continues to expand services or upgrade software. This way, system providers will always start with the most up-to-date data. This will also improve ongoing support and performance. 2. Phased piloting Piloting programs are an excellent opportunity to ensure the overall system is performing as designed. This is also an opportunity for the agency to ensure the way the system, fare structure and software was envisioned works as originally intended. A structured, phased pilot program (either internal or with an external population) can solve issues before they arise. If any changes need to be made, this is the right time to make or update those changes prior to a fleet-wide installation. 3. Training The transit agency’s staff is key to successful implementation. Incorporating a comprehensive training program can help pull agencies together, creating a clear understanding of the overall upgrade. The staff helps riders understand the changes taking place, which is valuable in helping riders adopt the new technology change. We recommend individual train-the-trainer programs along with onsite training to the entire staff. If the upgrade includes hardware upgrades, then training the maintenance team is another crucial component. As part of regular maintenance training, preventative maintenance can extend the life of an overall fare collection system. One component of doing onsite maintenance is to include the necessary inventory of spare

Mobile Link

e-Fare Link

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Agency Outlet

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Fare Media Distribution Solutions Payment Gateway

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Agency Network

Data Management Solutions

Agency Office

Inventory Control & Fullfillment

Back Office Data System & Reporting

Fare Collection & Validation Solutions

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Fast Fare-e

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On All Vehicles

Fast Fare-e Fast Fare Mobile Validator

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parts required to keep the system running smoothly. Preventative maintenance, along with having an inventory of spare parts, can save the team valuable time and lead to better performance. 4. Final installation – experience matters Choosing a fare system provider that has performed many installations can help the process go more smoothly. With the completion of a successful pilot program, the final step is to complete the fleet-wide installation, ensuring the agency stays on track with launching the upgraded system to the riders. With the completion of the final installation, the first few days are the most important for overall system functionality. We recommend increasing the number of agency staff riding the system to help answer questions and to assist passengers with the adoption of any changes. When looking ahead, keeping up with rider demands for technological advances means that you’ll need to be reviewing any system upgrades – both hardware and software – on a regular basis. Kate O’Driscoll serves as marketing manager for Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Don’t miss the next three connecting articles in the August, November and January 2016 editions of BUSRide Magazine, and visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

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Revenue management best practices By The Genfare Team

Being a responsible transit agency takes focus, resiliency and determination. There are so many facets of the business that must run efficiently and that fall within fiduciary responsibilities. One of the most important areas for an agency is revenue management. How does an agency ensure an efficient, secure and effective process for revenue management? Understand the vulnerabilities! It’s critical to understand where the agency needs improvement prior to implementing any changes to the revenue management process. Genfare has been involved with fare collection solutions from start to finish – with thousands of installed solutions for over 30 years. Our staff understands that assessing the vulnerabilities within an agency is an important first step to managing and improving any revenue management process. There are adjustments that agencies can implement quickly in order to better manage revenue and ensure they are optimizing security. Security and control An important part of ensuring a secure revenue environment involves creating a secure method for issuing revenue-system keys to revenue and maintenance staff. Evaluating available key control systems and how they apply to the agency is the first step in preventing fraud or theft. After a key control system has been implemented, be sure to clearly train staff on how and where keys are to be stored as well as the complete accounting process for each key holder. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be clearly stated throughout the facility. This should detail how employees are to manage any keys that are assigned to them as well as an analysis on all current keys and where they are stored. Counting/money rooms Controlling the money room process is critical to ensuring proper cash counts and to avoid fraud and theft. If the transit agency maintains an in-house counting facility, it is important to minimize any human error that can occur in the manual cash counting process. To avoid miscounting and/or theft, assign more than one staff member to count cash. Utilize surveillance video and assign a supervisor who is responsible for the process of cash counting. Also, provide staff with a clear process on how to recount cash, should the counts be different. Some important areas to address for this process are: well lit room, bills facing the same direction, serialized bill banding straps and ensure the bank recounts against staff counts. Consider supplying unique uniforms (short-sleeved, no pockets, fully zipped) to moneyroom staff in order to differentiate them from others in the agency and to avoid theft. If the agency uses an outside cash-processing company (bank or armored car), this outside service provider must also be carefully monitored to ensure they are accurately processing revenue. Well-established reconciliation and accounting processes must be in place to ensure accurate revenue credit back to the fare collection system. 6

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Equipment inventory In order to maintain accurate revenue processing, implement a serial-number checkpoint process. Each farebox and cashbox has a unique serial number. It’s imperative for staff to use the correct equipment serial numbers and for this to be reflected in the daily data. If these farebox/cashbox serial numbers do not match, discrepancies will occur. Create a process for serial number inventory on a monthly basis; this will help catch any discrepancies or anomalies in enough time to make inexpensive changes. Serial numbers need to be clearly visible, so they can be easily and quickly recorded. Back-end solution Implementing a reliable and robust back-end software solution is a key component in assuring superior revenue management. Genfare Link™ enables agencies to address many areas of the process in real-time (depending on agency connectivity). The combination of hardware and a robust back-end software solution gives the agency complete control over users and permissions—only allowing authorized staff access to revenue data. Genfare Link™ gives the agency control while solving many issues that have had long-standing effects on the transit industry. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Don’t miss the next two connecting articles in the November 2015 and January 2016 editions of BUSRide Magazine, and visit www.busride.com/ ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

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Control revenue loss with policies and procedures By The Genfare Team BUSRide met with representatives from Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL, to discuss how modern fare collection companies manage revenue loss, fraud and fare evasion. What is the biggest cause of lost revenue at transit agencies? The main cause of lost revenue in transit agencies, when it comes to fare collection practices, is key control. Keys are security assets that allow transit authorities access cash boxes. If agencies don’t properly maintain these key controls, or if somebody were to lose one and not report it, then that is a big issue. What are some recent innovations that can help agencies protect against lost revenue? At Genfare, we help our agency customers develop policies and procedures to institute key control measures. There are also companies, like CyberLock by Videx in the case of Genfare, that cater to key control needs. These companies assign keys and lock them in a safe. Employees can come in at the beginning of their shift, use a PIN to sign out a key, and that key is only allocated to them during their scheduled shift. If they come in on an offshift day or time, they cannot access that key. The biggest thing that we do is help agencies put those key control measures in place. More times than not, it’s about Digital wallets on smartphones are policies and procedures related much less susceptible to fraud than traditional fare media. to logging, signing in and signing out keys, as well as a physical inventory of keys every month. If one is missing, agencies can know within a 30-day period rather than a six-month period. We try to educate our transit agencies that are using either smartcard or magnetic media on how best to use that particular piece of media, whether it’s as a day pass, a transfer pass that may have a two-hour window, or a two-hour window with two rides, etc. – we try to define the media and make it as finite as possible to ensure that the riders

are getting the rides that they need to continue their trip, but the agency is not at risk for unused cards or unwanted rides for that particular media. In terms of fare fraud, what’s the biggest threat to transit agencies? The majority of fraud that we see is based on flash-pass usage. Flashpasses are locally printed passes, from an agency with no security measure like magnetic strips or chips, that are easily photocopied at home. That kind of fraud is easily combatted by migrating customers to smartcards QR-codes present an incredibly secure way to and/or magnetic media. manage fares. Magnetic media is fairly secure and each fare collection provider has their own encoding format – unique and only known to the provider. There is equipment available over the internet that allows people to copy magnetic media, but it’s fairly expensive. The people that buy that equipment are using it to copy credit cards and not transit fare cards. What else do agencies need to know? Money handling procedures are incredibly important. Agencies need to have necessary security in place, with cameras in every account room and covering every square inch of rooms where money is handled. The biggest thing that agencies need to do is their daily diligence by looking at the reports they get from the system. Those reports show any anomalies within a system as soon as it happens, or one day later at the latest. If agencies are doing their due diligence every day, they can pinpoint problems and look to solve them immediately. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Don’t miss the next connecting article in the January 2016 edition of BUSRide Magazine, and visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

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PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE FOR MODERN FARE COLLECTION

BUSRide met with Phil Gamperl, customer care lead for Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL, to discuss the pitfalls of not keeping up with preventative maintenance on modern fare collection systems as well as the value of training technicians on the intricacies of those systems. How important is preventative maintenance to today’s fare collection systems? It’s very important – some of our customers refrain from doing their preventative maintenance and then subsequently have issues with ridership. Preventative maintenance of the farebox and the accompanying TRiM unit (if applicable) is very important to collect revenue and ridership accurately. Genfare supports a variety of databases which require their own preventative maintenance. We recommend using either Widows check disk or defrag or any third party software that falls within transit’s IT policy. This defrag should take place once each quarter. Along with regular maintenance we recommend keeping up to five years of data within the database for optimal performance. The database should be backed up every morning at 5 a.m. or after the end of the transit day. Genfare also recommends that 14 to 21 copies of the database be kept at any given time to ensure data is kept up to date. The relationship between the hardware and software is critical to ensure optimal performance. The Genfare TRiM unit is a magnetic card encoder and reader. It literally codes fare pass magnetic stripes while on the bus. If someone wants a transfer, day-pass, or other trip, the TRiM unit encodes it out of blank stock. The TRiM unit should always come with a TRiM diagnostics computer from Genfare. It’s a standalone computer that hooks up to the TRiM unit for diagnostic tests. We recommend that farebox technicians come every two years to Elk Grove Village for onsite training. One aspect of that training would be the TRiM diagnostic computer – but they will also test the sensors, magnetic heads, motor speed, belt tension, and issue test cards to ensure that thermal printing is correctly adjusted. What kind of problems will agencies encounter if their preventative and regularly scheduled farebox maintenance isn’t optimized? There is a report in the Genfare data system that shows errors that may occur in the TRiM unit. It will show things like a Bad Verify (which means the TRiM encoded something but can’t read it, so it needs a repair). It will also show misreads of a card. 8

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That report will steer technicians to what bus the problematic TRiM is in. Knowing the bus number, they can go to that bus – and if it’s an Odyssey farebox or a later model, everything is tool-free. Open the lid, pull the suspect TRiM out, and put in a known good TRiM. The suspect TRiM goes back to the shop and hooks to the TRiM diagnostic computer. Troubleshoot, fix the unit and ready it for re-deployment. Other farebox elements that require regular maintenance are: • The bill validator, which validates all American currency. Take a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol and clean the “eyes” of the validator. • Rubber belts, two of which are used to pull bills into the farebox. Replace them if they’re not worn. • The bill transport • The coin validator. Clean the “eyes” of the coin validator just like you would the bill validator. Talk about the importance of training for farebox technicians. Preventative maintenance is a top priority at every transit authority because it keeps the farebox in running order for collecting revenue and collecting ridership. It’s imperative that each agency send its farebox technicians at least once every two years for in-house training. Genfare prefers to have technicians come to Elk Grove Village because it’s best to have their undivided attention. They can be trained on the importance of keeping the farebox and TRiM unit working properly. It all boils down to revenue and ridership reconciliation. Ridership, ridership, ridership – it’s the name of the transit game. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Don’t miss the next connecting article in the January 2016 edition of BUSRide Magazine, and visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

Preventative maintenance on fareboxes is extremely important for ridership andrevenue data streams.

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The service of fare collection By Tara Farnsworth Revenue management, ridership and reporting go hand in hand when it comes to running a transit operation. In order for each agency to receive their operational funds from the Federal Transit Association (FTA), they have to be able to properly record ridership data. Along with each rider is the revenue received for each ride, which creates the need for a high level of service and security around revenue management. Service has and will continue to be more important than ever to the evolving fare collection solution landscape. Customer care and service is critical to running a successful transit operation. In 2015, Genfare combined its customer service team (OEM spare parts and media) with its system support team (software technical support) to create a centralized customer care team. The goal was to make it easy for clients to reach the right person on the first call. Genfare has made, and will continue to make, significant changes to ensure our clients receive a higher level of service from our team. Highlights of some of the recent changes include incorporating

Coupled with every swipe from each rider is the revenue received for each ride – and properly managing that data is key.

From left: Dinero Washington, general manager of SPORTRAN Shreveport Transit Management, Inc., Shreveport, LA; Youlanda James, customer service manager of SPORTRAN; Mike Horbrook, system support engineer at Genfare.

a formalized ticketing system that documents all agency calls and emails Genfare receives to ensure each support item is documented, assigned and managed through completion. No matter the fare collection provider, there is nothing more important than identifying and resolving high priority service issues that keep transit agencies up and operating smoothly. It is of paramount importance that software and equipment stay running to capture ridership, agency revenue and reporting. It’s vital to keep an open line of communication with the vendor providing fare collection services to your agency—including agency interactions with a vendor’s customer care team, training, installations, project closures and more. This valuable feedback should be reviewed and, most importantly, incorporated into future improvements. The

more insight into what we are doing well and what needs improvement will continue to develop and evolve our service programs. Reach out and let the vendors know how they’re doing. As each agency continues to change and develop their fare collection policy, it’s important you keep your vendor abreast of changes you are making that may interact or work in cooperation with your fare collection system. Client feedback helps vendors identify gaps in service, put plans in place to eliminate those gaps and keep a consistent line of communication with agency clients. This evaluation process will never stop – it will continue to be an ongoing stream of feedback to ensure we continue to improve our level of service to the industry. Keeping your vendor in the loop will ensure that as you add other elements to your fare collection system, you will have your internal and external team on the same page, which will aid in the success of adding new elements to your system. Tara Farnsworth serves as director of marketing and customer care. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

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How do agencies lose the most fare revenue? By Christina Belmont Fare revenue can be lost in various ways, and we believe those losses fall into three main buckets — electronic, physical and procedural. When talking about an electronic-related loss, we are referring to credit card issues, fraudulent payments, etc. By physical loss, we’re talking about cash — bills and coins. An agency’s electronic and physical fares need to be protected, but in vastly different ways. For example, Genfare’s validating fareboxes: Fast Fare, Odyssey and Odyssey Plus validate U.S. coins and currency. If an invalid coin (slug, Chuck E. Cheese token, foreign currency, etc.) is inserted into the coin validator, it will be immediately rejected back to the rider. The farebox will emit an audio response “coin not valid” notifying both the operator and the rider that invalid currency was inserted into the farebox. By validating incoming currency at the farebox, a transit agency has the advantage of intercepting invalid currency and collecting the correct fare with each rider. As many agencies have learned the hard way, it is a gap in your procedures that can cause a loss in fare revenue. It’s imperative for an agency to know who is collecting money, and it’s as equally important to reconcile consistently and frequently with reporting. This will help the agency identify any inconsistencies or adverse trends. What new technological innovations can protect against lost revenue for transit agencies? There have been innovations across the board with hardware, software and media advancements. Hardware has advanced with fareboxes becoming more sophisticated, along with the accompanying vaulting procedures. Software now captures the entire rider experience—from the moment someone boards and pays their fare and the equipment records their passenger data. From an industry perspective, there have been several advances in fare media. For instance, one technological innovation that has helped protect against lost revenue is the smart card. Cashless transactions benefit transportation agencies, as the security risk to drivers and other cash handling employees is significantly reduced. Another benefit is their enhanced security characteristics—smart cards reduce the potential for abuse, fraud, counterfeit and fare evasion. All of these benefits contribute to protecting an agency against lost revenue. In conjunction with the 10

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advancement of smart cards, the ability to accept mobile payment also shares many of the same benefits while also contributing to the continuous improvement of the fare collection system. What’s the biggest potential for fare and revenue fraud in a transit agency, and how best can agencies protect against it? Overall, it’s the lack of processes and procedures that can safeguard transit agencies against manipulation and human error. It’s necessary for each agency to reduce the number of chances that allow the creation of an opportunity for loss within the revenue system. Knowing that this is a huge challenge, understanding what is at the core of the problem is what will make the biggest difference. Ensuring compliance is by no means an easy task, but it must be a large component of a comprehensive set of processes and procedures designed to safeguard against risk, which will foster and build a culture of fare compliance. Once these pieces are in place, it is now easier to do what is right rather than doing wrong. With that said, the majority of our transit customers have chosen to deploy surveillance systems on the buses and the fueling island. These surveillance systems provide that extra layer of peripheral security to inhibit fraudulent activity. What else should agencies know? Being familiar with PCI standards is incredibly important. The credit payment landscape is constantly evolving, and PCI standards remain complex and often misunderstood by many transit agencies. Confusion ranges from exactly what PCI is, to misperceptions regarding to whom the standards apply, who is responsible for attaining and maintaining PCI compliance and certification and (equally or more important), who is liable for failures. It is crucial to have a full understanding your agency’s roles and liabilities, which will help prevent revenue loss. If it had to boil down to one thing, we’d say that not having a fare collection system in place is the biggest risk of losing revenue. Genfare has more than 35 years of experience, and we want our customers to benefit from and build off of that expertise. Genfare’s domain is issuing tickets, managing them and collecting costs and revenues, and the heart of our solutions are that they are secure and accurate. We have found that when a client implements a fare collection system for the first time, their revenue increases immediately. Christina Belmont serves as marketing manager for Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Visit www.busride.com/ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook and visit the Genfare website at www.genfare.com.

Security of physical fares, as well as electronic fares, is of paramount concern – so fareboxes like the Odyssey by Genfare will immediately reject invalid coins and bills.

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Fare collection informs for better data management To better understand how fare media management and analytics work on a day-to-day basis, what better way to demonstrate a handson approach than to interview a customer – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). PSTA is the public transit provider in Pinellas County, FL, providing more than 14.9 million passenger trips in 2015. One hundred eighty-three buses, 16 trolleys and eight cutaways buses serve 348 square miles – with a total of 4,929 bus stops on 38 routes in Pinellas County, including two express routes that travel to Tampa. Genfare’s relationship with PSTA began roughly 17 years ago with a Request For Proposal (RFP) that ultimately evolved into the current Odyssey farebox system installation. Though the agency only began by accepting a minimal variety of fare media, they now have online purchasing and offer an array of magnetic-based fare media –- including regional cards, daily fares, reduced fares and other options. “Through the years, PSTA has taken its original fare platform and advanced it greatly,” says Roy Purnell, eastern region sales manager for Genfare. “They’ve really raised the bar in terms of accepting different types of fare media - and in using the data collected by the fare payment system to help monitor and guide agency operations.” We spoke with Rita Hoffman, statistical data manager at PSTA. What types of fare media does PSTA accept? PSTA accepts cash, coins, magnetic tickets, flash passes and student I.D. for PSTA’s university pass program. PSTA is currently part of a multi-county regional fare collection project which will include a mobile app in the fall. Smartcards and open payments (bank cards) will follow. How do you use fare collection analytics in your daily operations? Regarding fare media and fare collection, daily data is used to monitor revenue collection security, accuracy and efficiency. Daily ridership is reviewed and monitored to ensure reasonableness of the data, as a large swing could indicate bad data or incomplete data. Shop reports are used to evaluate farebox maintenance requirements. What data does your current fare payment system help you monitor? It helps us in several areas Fleet management: There are extensive maintenance reports that detail specific farebox conditions and suggested preventative maintenance actions. There’s also a probing report that details the buses probed or vaulted each day and which ones were not probed or vaulted. Passenger counts / ridership by route: Our fareboxes provide us with passenger counts by date, service day, route, run, time, fare type, bus, and other criteria. Fares: Fare revenue collected is tracked by date, bus, fare type, denomination, cashbox and vault. Also, for reconciliation purposes we compare total revenue collected per the farebox system versus actual revenue collected, daily and monthly. The farebox system generates a variety of security warnings when certain non-routine events happen, such as excessive length of time

PSTA has utilized the Odyssey fareboxes for 17 years.

the cashbox is out of the farebox; if a portable probe has been used on the farebox; if the door of the farebox has been opened outside of the proper procedure; if a logic board has been memory-cleared, and so on. These reports detail the day, time and bus of the occurrence. How is this data transformed into actionable business intelligence? Farebox ridership is coupled with route revenue hours to measure route productivity (trips/revenue hour). The data is ranked by route, highest to lowest. Lower-performing routes are evaluated to see if ridership can be increased by possible route changes or if the route should be discontinued. We monitor the fare types used by our customers to ascertain: •T  he demographics of those using public transit? Seniors, youth students, university students, regional travelers, 1-trip riders, transportation disadvantaged riders, commuters, tourists? • Which fare types are the most commonly preferred? • Which fare types are in decline? •A  re customers favoring a lower per-trip price but higher initial cost (monthly pass) versus a higher per-trip price but lower initial cost (seven-day pass)? PSTA does not offer transfers, but many agencies do and look at this data to determine how often passengers are transferring on the system. Farebox data could be merged with a GPS system for further analysis — where exactly are the passengers boarding and what fare types are they using? Soon PSTA will implement a mobile app, with smartcards and bank card payments to follow. How many passengers will use this technology? Which technology will they prefer? What will the best option be for operational efficiency (i.e., faster boarding time and lower costs of fare collection)? How does PSTA use that actionable intelligence to enhance the rider experience, increase agency efficiency and prepare for the future? By reviewing the fare history (as mentioned above), we can better tailor our fare structure to what customers want. We recently revamped our fare structure to make it simpler (more customer-friendly). We discontinued fares that were not being used much, and we also added new fare types that customers had been asking for. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Visit www.genfare.com for more information. Visit www.busride.com/ ebooks to get the full story in Genfare’s eBook.

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FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION

Mobile ticketing – demand is on the rise

BUSRide interviewed Darren Dickson, president of Genfare, about mobile ticketing. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Dickson speaks about the prevalence of mobile ticketing, as well as its benefits and challenges. Finally, he discusses the main drivers behind mobile ticketing’s nationwide adoption and implementation. How prevalent is mobile ticketing in North America today? On the agency side, the demand for mobile ticketing is certainly on the rise and growing quickly. Mobile solutions are in every walk of life, and it’s a natural extension of an agency’s fare collection payment options to offer mobile ticketing for added convenience. As a fare collection provider, mobile ticketing is one of a full suite of payment options we provide to create a comprehensive fare collection solution that is designed to meet the needs of each agency and their ridership.

Aside from purchasing convenience, what benefits does mobile ticketing present for riders? Mobile ticketing opens up an entire communication channel for riders that allows the agency to connect with a rider at a heightened level. Vehicle data, on time data, push notifications, receiving the best deal on a ticket—the options abound. It’s this level of connectivity that will serve as the base platform for the last mile approach. Mobile can serve as the gateway for ride share, bike share and other platforms to ensure a rider is able to make a full trip with a single source. How does mobile ticketing help agencies better protect against theft and fraud? Mobile ticketing with full validation is one of the best ways to protect against theft along with the ability to incorporate your data into a single backend. There are a number of security measures in place for visual validation as well. Those measures include daily changing images, a countdown of the active ticket, and an interactive background that lets the driver interact with the application if there is a question about whether the ticket is valid. Darren Dickson serves as president of Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL. Visit www.genfare.com for more information.

What are the benefits for transit agencies adopting mobile ticketing solutions? The biggest benefit to the agency is the ability to implement a standalone visual solution quickly. Mobile ticketing can be implemented in phases and initially doesn’t have to integrate into the agency’s backend. The ideal implementation is to phase in visual validation, and then phase in the full validation through your fare collection system to ensure everything is tracked and reported through a single backend. The benefits to the agency are multifold. Mobile ticketing allows the agency to appeal to a specific demographic, such as those with smart phones, choice riders, and those wanting the convenience of purchasing a ticket at a moment’s notice. Other benefits include the agency’s ability to reduce cash transactions as well as ticket sale costs, and provide an additional media platform and revenue stream. What challenges does mobile ticketing face? Most mobile apps aren’t integrated into an agency’s backend system. It’s a standalone application, which means the agency must manage an additional stream of revenue and data—both need to be incorporated and reported upon. Another significant challenge is that there is a level of security to be aware of—there are always security threats. With visual validation, the driver is now brought back into the mix of fare collection and is put into a situation where they need to make boarding decisions which is what an agency wants to avoid. A validating mobile ticketing app leaves the driver out of the mix. How soon do you believe mobile ticketing adoption will become a necessity for major transit agencies? Why? The demand is already high—and ridership is pushing for the adoption of the technology. New technology opens the door to new options, but it’s also about convenience—the ease of trip planning, tracking vehicle location, etc. Once mobile starts to integrate more successfully, it will allow agencies to offer programs that are largely beneficial to the riders. As with many new initiatives, budget, speed of implementation and ridership are just a few of the main drivers. 12

BUSRIDE | GENFARE

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