Houston METRO taps INIT for contactless fare system

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) in Houston, Texas – one of the largest mass transit service providers in the United States – has chosen INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. to implement a contactless, account-based fare system to replace their current proprietary, closed-loop system. The next generation Fare Collection System (FCS) implementation will include approximately 1,900 EMV-capable fare validators on buses and at platforms throughout the system, fare inspection devices, customer workstations, and an account-based back-office fare management platform which will serve as the core intelligence of the system.

“INIT and METRO have shared a long-time partnership through the establishment of an Integrated Vehicle Operations Management System (IVOMS) and personnel dispatch software,” commented Roland Staib, President & CEO of INIT. “We are very pleased to continue that cooperation with the launch of the next generation Fare Collection System for METRO and their riders.”

Of particular importance for METRO is the ability of the INIT fare system to configure different fares for their various groups of riders from within the back-office. Reduced fare, student, business, or free-fare accounts, as well as daily or monthly fare capping incentives, are possible with the next generation FCS. Thanks to INIT’s open architecture design and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), the FCS is adept at meeting the future needs of METRO and their riders.

METRO’s new account-based system will provide a user-friendly experience to more than 100 million annual riders who will be able to manage their own accounts anywhere and at any time. Using a vastly expanded and robust retail network, riders will be able to purchase and reload value to their accounts with cash, credit, or debit. Additionally, riders will be able to use the web portal or their smartphone to add and reload value to their accounts. With INIT’s core back-office system, MOBILEvario, METRO will be able to manage all fare products and transfer rules, capping pots, revenues, and accounting which will provide greater flexibility and interoperability for an easy and seamless fare payment experience.

The new fare collection system will help METRO meet its goals of simplifying the customer experience, increasing service reliability by improving boarding times, delivering more accessible fare payment options, and guaranteeing a secure and scalable system for the future.