Buying a subway ticket to a specific location used to entail advance planning and a physical visit to the train station (not forgetting the long lines and endless waiting times). In recent times, mobility has improved. To make public transportation more appealing to the customers, operators have devised efficient ways to collect fares and provide fast and convenient payment options.

You’ve probably seen people use cards or simply their smartphones to gain access to public transportation, such as subways or metros. What is that procedure, and how did the user get transportation service without having to buy tickets in person? Well, that is precisely what an Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system does.

What is an Automated Fare Collection System?

The AFC system is a contactless back-to-back payment and fare collection method based on smart cards. Ticket vending machines are used to make payments for the fare instead of direct cash. The AFC technology automates the ticketing system for public transportation. It’s a convenient and secure payment method that’s becoming increasingly popular in subways, train stations, and bus stops.

This system makes fare collection more efficient and safe by using contactless smart cards to control an automatic gate machine, ticket checking machine, and ticket vending machine. You can generate your tickets for your trip using the ticket vending machine. As digital payment choices become more popular, this automated ticketing process provides passengers with a smooth, hassle-free, and quick travel experience.

Do you know what technology they use to automate the process? Keep reading to find out more.

Optical character recognition (OCR), magnetic stripe, and smart cards are all used in the automated fare collection system. Magnetic-stripe tickets are encoded to hold data (in the form of bits) read by authorized machines. The smart cards that you insert into the ticket vending machine at the subway or metro have chips that communicate with the fare collection system. 

Coding and Ticketing

Smart Cards and tokens were always the two forms of subway tickets available, and customers could purchase them at ticket vending machines or at the counter. The pandemic reimagined the process, making contactless travel more convenient for passengers. Passengers can now use QR code ticketing in a secure, simple, and efficient manner. The passenger simply needs to create a QR code ticket that will be generated after payment is completed using a digital wallet. 

Subway Ticket

So, What Data is Stored on a Metro Token?

To begin with, it contains information on the station where it was issued and the available balance. It checks for validity when you swipe it at the AFC gate. If it is valid for entry or exit, the gate will open; otherwise, the user will be sent to customer service.

What is a Smart Card, and How Does it Work?

A smart card is a memory chip-equipped device. Smart cards can store huge amounts of data and communicate with a smart card reader intelligently.

Data stored on the smart card include:

  • The passenger’s name
  • Smart card serial number
  • Fare payment transaction history
  • Trip history for at least 24 months
  • Stored value balance

What Exactly is Coding?

“Coding” is a term you’ve probably heard before. Coding enables us to do all of the exciting things we do regularly. It allows us to use mobile apps, work with various software, play games, and surf the web. All of this is done by coding. Coding’s major goal is to make it easier for humans and computers to communicate.

“Coding” is the process of converting instructions from a human language to a machine-readable language and transferring them to a computer. Coding enables data transcription from the smart cards in the AFC system.

Some Applications of the Automated Fare Collection System

The Strathclyde Partnership manages the Glasgow Subway for Transport (SPT), which ensures access to better public transit. During rush hour, the subway is the most convenient mode of transport, with trains running every four minutes. Subway tickets may be purchased with a free registered Subway Smartcard.

Passengers who use the Subway Smartcard benefit from the following features:

  • No more waiting time in queues
  • Tickets can be purchased at a feasible price 
  • Smartcard accounts can be managed online from the comfort of your home
  • The Upper Circle rewards program gives passengers access to a variety of discounts and special offers.

Lastly, a summation!

New technologies don’t seem to stop as the world is altering at such a rapid pace. A code is used to run every smartphone app, website, computer application, and even a microwave and calculator. Coding is no longer a choice; it is now a necessary life skill that allows you to stay connected and creative.

Coding is a game changer in the industry. For a wide range of professions, it has become a vital skill and a competitive advantage. Digital transformation is seen everywhere. A lot is going on right now, and there will be a lot more in the future.

If you want to read more about coding and its impact on our daily lives, then visit the BYJU’S FutureSchool website for more such information.

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