FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION: SPX
Revenue management best practices
By The SPX 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. SPX 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.
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 money-room 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.
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.
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.
SPX 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 SPX Genfare’s eBook.