The future of fare collection

By Paul Cohoon, Systems Engineer

"During my time deploying fare collection systems, I have seen first-hand how these evolutions support our customers from design to implementation and into ongoing maintenance and operations."

Working as a system engineer for INIT means I get to partner with transit providers across North America to help provide excellent service to their riders while keeping up with constantly evolving fare technologies.  

During my time deploying fare collection systems, I have seen first-hand how these evolutions support our customers from design to implementation and into ongoing maintenance and operations. 

For Passengers: Simple, convenient, equitable


Thanks to our account-based system structure, we are able to offer real-time account management and fare calculation to passengers, meaning they can manage their own accounts, add value, and see updates in real-time from anywhere. Plus, passengers can pay with cash, paper tickets, smart cards, barcodes, mobile tickets, and open payment (EMV) media.  


With open payments, riders do not necessarily need to download an app or register an account to reap the benefits of the system, and agencies do not have to issue or manage their own media. Instead, passengers use their own bank-issued credit or debit cards, including their virtual mobile wallet or smart wearable technology, for quick contactless payments. Our fare collection system recently received Visa’s “Ready for Transit” certification, confirming that it meets the Mobility & Transport (MTT) framework for easy, fast, and secure contactless payments.  


In cities like Honolulu, HI, Grand Rapids, MI, Tampa, FL, and Portland, OR –fare capping simplifies the payment process for transit riders and provides them with social and economic equity. Fare capping is simple: Everyone pays the lowest possible  fare, and no one is ever over-charged. The program allows riders who, for example, may not be able to afford a monthly pass at the beginning of the month to still earn one as they ride. I’ve seen how  fare capping benefits real people in varying financial situations and ultimately, how it makes transit more accessible for all.  

For transit agencies: Flexible and reliable support

With a new system comes new tasks, responsibilities, and considerations for your transit agency. By taking advantage of our powerful back-office revenue management software in combination with our managed services offering, our customers benefit from secure ongoing support. 


INIT’s flexible, open architecture system enables agencies to easily partner with third parties and allows for fare changes and secure data management, relieving privacy and PCI compliance concerns. Then, there are the daily tasks associated with maintenance and monitoring. INIT offers a new evolution of support through managed services.  


With managed services, instead of onboarding new staff or training existing staff, our operations team can step in and offer the expertise and knowledge needed to successfully operate the very system we designed. Think of it like a car purchase: If I go out and buy a brand new Tesla, I would want Tesla to provide me with car service and support. They have the expertise and tools needed to most effectively address any issues that may come up, and I would trust them over other car service providers. It works the same for fare collection systems. Our operations team handles the routine tasks for you, including inventory management and accounting validation, while ensuring all systems are functioning properly with field device maintenance and 24/7 system monitoring. 

Partnering with INIT for your fare collection system and managed services ensures you can reach your organizational goals and focus on improving the passenger experience without having to sweat the small stuff. It’s a complete solution from start to finish: the next evolution in fare collection. 


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