The Transit Advantage

Smart Cards: Savvy Move for Small Transit Agencies

The transportation landscape for small, mid-sized and rural transit agencies is changing. Many of them want to take advantage of smart-card solutions — better fare management, ridership data, tracking and reporting capabilities — but they don’t necessarily have the infrastructure in place and cannot afford much of the functionality in high-end solutions.

I’ve considered this predicament and that’s one of the reasons why Acumen’s research and development team developed Acumen’s latest generation contactless smart card system, the AcuFare 200.

Many major cities and large transit agencies have already implemented smartcard systems, and Acumen continues to hone capacities and features for large agencies such as our work with BART on its Station Agent Terminal (SAT) Smart Card Reader/Encoder Development project. For instance, Acumen has been assisting WMATA with testing back-office fare collection software, fare tables, ridership data and financial reporting. Acumen also has implemented and is managing the largest transit agency POS network for smart card fare media in the country.

But the time has come to bring this technology to smaller transit agencies and operators such as our innovative project with the Yuma County Area Transit/Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization. Acumen is delivering to YMPO’s bus system a highly customized smart card-based automated fare collection solution that features multiple rider classes, multiple fare products including time period-limited trips, multiple fare discounts and distance-based fares.

This type of custom solution gives small agencies the ability to track and report on fare collection to regional bodies or the FTA, analyze reports to determine how to best serve ridership and more efficiently tailor system routes and allocate resources. For example, the MBTA in Boston saw more than a 30% increase in revenue collection after implementing a smart card system.

AcuFare 200 benefits also include a fast return on investment that requires limited infrastructure improvements or moving parts and virtually no maintenance. If you’ve got a PC, you can run this system. It’s that simple.

Once a smart card system is implemented, transit agencies really like that they can gain greater control over how they plan for and offer services, such as ride-on-demand, paratransit or fixed-route. Acumen can assist with fare policy simplification or our in-house development team can add the features that any agency requires. I think smaller transit agencies don’t realize that they can reap benefits in reliability, security and passenger convenience as well as significantly reduce operating costs. All it takes is one easy-to-use, contactless system.

To learn more, visit our AcuFare product development page FAQs or shoot us an email at project@acumentransit.com to request secure access to our technical specifications.