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AcuFare FAQs

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AcuFare FAQs (PDF)

How do riders use AcuFare?
A rider loads fare onto his or her smart card through a government agency, point-of-sale (POS) device, Web site, or the mail. These payment systems can be managed by a transit agency or third party. When a rider gets on the bus with the prepaid smart card, the rider simply places his or her card near the contactless AcuFare smart card reader. If the card is read successfully, the rider and bus driver will receive a visible confirmation on the full-color LCD display and hear a long, unbroken sound. If the card is rejected or unrecognizable, the rider and bus driver will see the display flash a configurable error message and hear a series of shorter beeps.

How does AcuFare transfer and collect data?
After AcuFare successfully reads a card, that data is collected and stored in the reader’s one gigabyte internal memory. Specific trip data can be uploaded from the reader via a USB flash drive to a PC for data aggregation. Also, configuration information can be downloaded from a PC to the USB flash drive, and then transferred to the reader. Wireless data transfer options are also available.

How secure is AcuFare?
AcuFare supports various encryption methods to verify that the smart card and reader communicate in a secure manner. It supports both MIFARE® and 3DES encryption to verify that the smart card and reader use the same cryptographic key(s). Security Access Modules (SAMs) are also available for security including, AES, key storage, and key management configuration that is easy to replace without reprogramming the AcuFare system.

Which types of smart cards does the AcuFare read?
AcuFare works with a wide range of ISO 14443-compliant Type A and Type B contactless smart cards from manufacturers such as Gieseke and Devrient, Innovision, ASK, OTI, and others. Limited-use smart cards are also compatible with the AcuFare system.

What type of fare products does AcuFare recognize?
The AcuFare smart card reader system is designed to recognize a variety of fare products stored on riders’ smart cards such as:

  • Stored value (e-purse)
  • Trip-based fare
  • Period passes (e.g., a monthly pass)
  • A combination of the above products (e.g., student trips that can be used only during a predetermined period, such as school days from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In addition, to help prevent card sharing, an anti-passback rule can be set up so that a card is not valid at the same reader within a certain time frame, such as within 30 minutes.

How is an agency’s fare structure set up on the AcuFare system?
Because most transit agencies have a fare structure and policies in place, Acumen’s IT staff can program AcuFare to work with existing fare structures. In addition, as rules change, the new fare information can be quickly uploaded onto the smart card reader via a USB flash drive (and updated on the smart cards). Or, if an agency wants its in-house IT staff to program AcuFare, Acumen can provide a development kit to simplify this task.

If an agency wants to integrate its fare collection with the existing structure of a larger, regional transportation agency, Acumen’s experienced consultants can work closely with the agency to integrate its fare collection operations.

Does AcuFare work with other fare collection devices/systems?
Yes, AcuFare is interoperable. It can operate as a slave device to a host controller (faregate or farebox controller printed circuit board (PCB) or station agent terminal), or as a stand-alone unit with business rules encoded in AcuFare firmware.

It can also be integrated easily with larger, regional fare collection operations.

What kind of reporting options are available?
For reporting, AcuFare works with many existing software applications, such as the Microsoft Office suite. It can also be customized to deliver a variety of reports and to work with proprietary software applications.

How durable is AcuFare?
Built with rugged polycarbonate/steel housing, AcuFare performs well after repeated use day in and day out. Acumen is currently developing a rugged, hand-held model that requires no external power source for operation.

Can AcuFare record location data?
Yes, with an optional global positioning system (GPS) locator, AcuFare can receive external coordinate data and time stamps, which enables it to record locations of card tag transactions.