Datamatics Automated Fare Collection (AFC) vision

May 30, 2019 1:36:20 PM

Exclusive Interview of Sanjeev Subhedar, Executive Vice President & Head Engineering Solutions, Datamatics


What is your value proposition for Metro Systems?

Datamatics has been a key player in the Automated Fare Collection (AFC) space and has participated in more than 25 major projects globally. There is great value for Transit operators; firstly, Datamatics ensures long term support to protect investments that the transit operators make. Secondly, we offer the latest technology with very robust roadmap for upgrades making sure that transit operators are continuously getting the benefits of latest technology. Thirdly, we offer lowest lifecycle cost with long term engagements that are critical to infrastructure projects. Last but not the least, the benefit of our global participation in projects in all major markets, such as Europe, USA, Australia, India, Middle East, etc., brings forth a rich experience in managing massive, global projects.

What are the new technological trends in Transport Ticketing?

The industry has witnessed a gradual evolution from manual ticketing to smart tokens. With the increasing footfall, unprecedented passenger volumes, and demanding millennials, the transport ticketing trend is moving away from such closed loop fare media to new ticketing technologies, such as Account based ticketing, open loop, Quick Response (QR) code, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Mobile ticketing. New standards such as National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) are paving the way towards multi-modal transit in a city, a state, which can be gradually extended to a nation. Similarly, we are soon going to see the advent of biometric ticketing such as face recognition.

What is Near Field Communication (NFC) powered AFC System and how it helps in enabling multi-modal transit systems in a city?

Near Field Communication or NFC is a communication protocol that enables transactions between two electronic devices when they are within 4 cm distance from each other. NFC powered AFC system has been around for quite some time in European countries.  The key benefit that NFC can bring in ticketing is use of “Mobile devices to act as tickets along with the likes of smart cards, credit cards, e-purse, etc”. This provides great convenience to the traveler and at the same time it can save operational costs for the operator as it substantially reduces “Card Life Cycle Management costs”. In addition, a central clearing house system (CCHS) acts as an enabler for a multi-modal transit, wherein it identifies the fare media, the associated unique id number, and the identity of the person while apportioning the fare for each individual transport mode such as railway, metro, bus, water way, etc., between the from and to destinations.

What is the future of Account based ticketing system in India?

Account Based Ticketing (ABT) is the next major thing! It is simpler because it does not have the complications of an e-Purse. It facilitates different forms of tickets, such as NFC devices, smart cards or biometric identification such as face recognition. For a traveler, it brings the advantages of all the fare media mentioned above and for the operator it reduces the operational cost substantially. ABT along with QR code single journey/limited trips/single day ticketing is a very practical and simpler solution for future ticketing needs. ABT by very nature is highly scalable and multi model.

What are the features of AFC System deployed for Lucknow Metro?

Lucknow Metro was the fastest executed AFC project so far in India while abiding with all quality parameters and setting new benchmarks in the process. The state-of-the-art AFC system is designed to be highly secure, scalable, and reliable. The system uses smart gates, which accept contactless fare media. The Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs), Add Value Machines (AVMs), Ticket Office Machines (TOM) and Excess Fare Office (EFO) machines are very user friendly and modern with in-built latest technology. High usage of TVMs is clear indicator of its user friendly design. The modularity of the system allows integration with new technologies and fare media, such as QR Code, NFC, etc., thus enhancing the overall capability of the system and reducing the total cost of ownership for the transit operators. The transactions are made fully secure through the use of unique security keys and secure access module (SAM). This inhibits editing or copying of the fare media thus preventing fraud.

The system significantly reduces operational costs, ensures zero revenue leakage along with monitored access and transit. The system is integrated with a CCHS at Lucknow and is capable of extending the fare media / smart card, christened as “GoSmart card”, for multi-modal transits all over Lucknow thus making the ‘one city one card’ paradigm a powerful venture for the near future. The system is highly scalable and can cater to many transit agencies within and outside Lucknow. This card can also be used for non-transit service payments such as property tax, BSNL mobile payment, etc. The card can be even extended to fulfill a ‘one nation one card’ exemplar in the long run.

Do you cater to any other market segment apart from Metro Systems?

Datamatics has an independent Engineering Solutions and Services practice with AFC being its independent service delivery line. The company offers development, maintenance, integration, and testing of fare media solutions, front-end devices, station-level systems, and back-end systems for metro rail systems, bus, light rail, mono rail, parking lots, etc. Besides this, Datamatics also provides turnkey Engineering Solutions for mobility, internet of things, machine-to-machine service enablement, and smart cities. Datamatics has domain knowledge in Automotive, Consumer, Industrial, Retail, Healthcare, Transport, and Ancillary Banking. Using this, the company helps build intelligent connected devices and software solutions that leverage IoT and M2M solutions and services for smart cities.

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