The Future of Fare Media in Automated Fare Collection Systems for Urban Mobility in the Latin America and Caribbean Region

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Author
Fook, Alana
Date
Sep 2019
The way to pay for transit services has evolved significantly over time, from cash to magnetic stripe cards, smartcards and mobile-enabled solutions, with the roll-out of automated fare collection (AFC) systems. The benefits of introducing new fare media vary depending on the local context and the starting point. In cities in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, cash payments are the dominant way of paying for transit and few comprehensive AFC systems have successfully been implemented and maintained.
This Technical Note aims to discuss the benefits and challenges of moving from cash-based payments to other fare media, particularly for urban transit systems in the LAC region. To accomplish this, general benefits in international experiences were reviewed and the challenges and opportunities specific to the LAC region identified. Furthermore, the document analyses different types of fare media technology, and factors to consider when making the switch from cash to other fare media.
Despite the challenges of switching from cash to other fare media as part of an AFC system, there are several key benefits: the emergence of providing fare integration, the option to choose an interoperable system from the beginning, solutions to promote financial inclusion, and the creation of proprietary data for analysis and planning. The choice of a fare media, however, depends on the local context and culture as it requires operational and behavioural adjustments from all stakeholders involved in public transport.