FOCUS ON: FARE COLLECTION: Trapeze Group
Simplifying the complex fare revenue management landscape
By Floyd Diaz
In 2015, transit managers can walk into the office and have the total revenue generated for all transit activities over the last 24 hours on display to greet them. They have instant access to the details that make up that number; by pass type, by sales channel, by customer. They are able to see the status of all revenue equipment deployed for service. For many agencies with the latest in fare technology, this is today’s reality. Yet for some agencies, this seems like an impossible dream.
The primary focus of each transit agency is ensuring their riders get where they need to be. It can be a challenge to embrace modern trends in payment technologies and revenue collection systems. Solution partners like Trapeze work with agencies to lessen these challenges. This partnering approach allows agencies to continue to focus on what’s important – their riders.
The first step is to start the migration from simple cash-oriented, paper-based ticketing/pass systems. Often a gradual process, agencies adopt smartcard and mobile options piecemeal as they emerge. New payment methods also increase demand for multifunctional fareboxes, ticket vending machines (TVMs), and Mobile Ticketing Apps. For riders, the fare payment process is becoming ever more convenient. For agencies, however, the revenue management landscape is growing to be quite complex.
Adding to the challenge are vendor-locked systems that do not integrate well with other revenue solutions. The implementation of these systems creates new complexities for the agency. Realizing these challenges, solution partners like Trapeze have created solutions that embrace new technologies. With an open approach, Trapeze works with many vendors to make the faring evolution easier for agencies.
A key foundation to this new era of revenue collection is the Central System software. Agencies lose efficiency when they need to pull data from across a variety of disparate systems. Add to that the hours spent configuring spreadsheets and other tools for system views and performance data. Obtaining the performance data needed to manage the agency’s business should be a fast and simple process. Trapeze has found an easier way for agencies to get the most from their revenue collection systems: a single platform that underpins all the elements of an agency’s revenue ecosystem, whether an agency has a single vendor for these elements or has many vendors for their various system components.
This centralized solution allows agencies to manage all elements of their fare collection system. Managers can see graphic views of operating TVMs or fareboxes and, at a glance, assess their status. This gives them quick insight on in-service equipment, inventory levels, vault status etc.
There are many advantages that a Central System provides. Managers can make instant changes across their entire fleet. They can make simple software updates and solve challenges with individual equipment items. A range of reports and dashboards support revenue management reporting and reconciliation. Easy access to rider behavior allows agencies to predict needs and optimize their service.
Integrating with supporting transit partners and fellow agencies is now an achievable goal. In the past, several factors that made it difficult to establish cross-agency relationships, central clearing, settlement and revenue allocation to name a few. With a centralized approach to revenue management, these factors evolve from challenges to opportunities.
A clear example of these transformations has been the evolution of the Ticket Vending Machine. Trapeze has brought the latest in TVM technology design and functionality to its customers. Building on core foundations of security and efficiency, the TVM embraces consumer engagement trends like sleek design, gesture control and screen manipulation. This TVM embraces what we’ve learned over the years about how best to handle cash. Building on this, it encompasses new card-based options and is NFC capable for mobile payment – all in a user-friendly, easy to navigate, ADA-compliant form.
A robust Central System works with the Trapeze TVM to deliver an exceptional customer experience. With such advanced feature sets, it is critical that the agency has the means necessary to track and keep them up to date. This way, the agency is always communicating fresh information through the consumer engagement screens. Monitoring maintenance elements is also easier through a centralized system. Teams can issue alerts and avoid system interruptions in a fast and effective manner.
For years, the dream has been out of reach for transit agencies as they struggle to find the means to navigate this new landscape. But with a Central System and a new approach to partner solution delivery, the dream is very much a reality.
Floyd Diaz serves as director of automatic fare collection, Trapeze Group, Mississauga, ON, Canada. Visit the company online at
www.trapezegroup.com. Get the full story by reading Trapeze Group’s eBook at www.busride.com/ebooks.