Honolulu taps INIT for ID-/account-based ticketing system

Multi-modal e-fare system simplifies access to public transit service

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS) and Oahu Transportation Services (OTS) is partnering with INIT to design, build, operate and maintain a state-of-the-art ID-/account-based smart card ticketing system. The project will create an intermodal ticketing system that will allow passengers to use city public transportation with a single smart card. Initial transportation modes will include the bus service (TheBus) and the paratransit service (TheHandi-Van), operated by OTS, as well as Honolulu’s currently built rail transit system that will be operated by HART.

Bus Service

The initial phase will include outfitting the 550 vehicles of the TheBus fleet with passenger and driver terminals to validate smart cards and electronic tickets. INIT’s passenger terminal PROXmobile3 supports all forms of e-ticketing. The initial plan is to use smart cards only, and move to credit card payments and other forms of Open Payment in the future. The rapid validation process with PROXmobile3 will provide riders greater convenience through quicker boardings. In addition, drivers will be able to monitor payment activity via the driver terminal TOUCHit.

Rail Service

The Honolulu Rail Transit stations are currently under construction. The railway service will be operated by HART and connect Downtown Honolulu with the Airport, Aloha Stadium and Kapolei. All rail stations will be designed to serve a wide variety of passengers and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local accessibility requirements. INIT will be providing up to 100 ticket vending machines VENDstation and 139 fare gates. To accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the gateways will be 36” wide and the validator inside the gate will enable card detection from a wheelchair passenger’s pocket. INIT will be equipping a partner’s fare gates with proximity readers.

Paratransit Service

The third mode of transportation that will be integrated into the fare management system is the paratransit system, TheHandi-Van. Paratransit provides a door-to-door service for citizens with special mobility needs. OTS offers paratransit rides via its fleet of vans and contracted taxi companies. INIT will provide TheHandi-Van drivers a mobile Android terminal running a custom fare collection and validation application. 

Taxi drivers will be able to download the app to their personal Android mobile phones. The app will also collect data required to automate the third party invoicing and National Transportation Database (NTD) reporting, saving OTS an estimated 7,000 man hours each year.

The core of the system

INIT will also provide the back office system, MOBILEvario, for fare management, fare processing and clearing of revenues. MOBILEvario is the central intelligence of the system, responsible for storing and processing all data. The smart cards hold a unique identifier (ID) and the field devices send all transaction requests to the back office system.

Thanks to the real-time approach of the accountbased ticketing system, the online validation server will not only process account transactions in real-time but also provide real-time revenue processing. With the ridership data generated by the new system, officials will be able to study trends and make service adjustments accordingly.

Open architecture

The Honolulu fare collection project will encompass integration with several third party systems, including the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, customer and institutional websites and the mobile fare inspection and collection apps. INIT will be using the MOBILEvario open Application Programming Interfaces (API) to integrate with all external partners’ applications.

INIT will provide customer service terminals to satellite city halls and retail sales terminals to various retail outlets. This will enable customers to buy passes and load cards. Whereas the city halls will receive a dedicated workstation, the retail outlets will be using an Android mobile device connected via the API.


Once completed, the intermodal fare management system will allow passengers to use the same smart card across all transportation options. Thereby, the ID-/account-based approach offers utmost flexibility for future extensions like new sales channels or payment methods. Finally, the contract comprises ten years of day-to-day back-office operations, two years of maintenance and support for ticket vending machines and fare gates, and ten years of software maintenance for the entire system.


Amy Gardner

Project Manager