Mass Transit - 17

Advertorial

CASE
STUDY

TARC and Genfare Make Transit
a Lot Easier in Louisville
Prior to 2019, the process to pay fares
when boarding a Transit Authority of River
City bus was complicated at best, and a
hassle at worst. TARC bus operators were
required to visually validate a wide variety
of ID cards that allowed eligible passengers to board. There were also several
different versions of paper passes that
required validation, and the drivers often had issues with cash fare payment,
occasionally even resulting in occasional
conflicts between drivers and passengers
attempting to board.
The system was also vulnerable to fraud
and fare evasion. According to Geoffrey
Hobin, TARC's Director of Grants & Capital
Programs, the vulnerability to fraud even
enabled some "creative counterfeiters" to
target TARC. "At one point in time we decided to get a little creative with our paper
passes, but the counterfeiters were even
able to imitate those in an attempt to fraud
our system," said Hobin.
"By far the largest issue with our fare
payment process was the burden of issuing
and validating paper transfers," said Hobin. "The paper transfers were confusing
to our passengers, and our drivers were
often placed into the position of having to
challenge passengers."
Hobin also pointed out that it was incredibly difficult to track accurate fare payment data, but perhaps the worst effect
was the occasional delay in service due to
the cumbersome processes involved for
the drivers.

"Tremendously Important
Changes" Needed
The team at TARC knew the system had to
be improved. They turned to their longterm fare payment technology partner
Genfare for solutions, and over the course
of several years they worked together to
develop the MyTARC program.
The TARC project team, which was managed by Hobin, conducted focus groups,
tested numerous fare payment cards and
methodologies, and received a significant

amount of positive and constructive feedback from passengers. "It was obvious that
massive and tremendously important
changes were necessary," said Hobin.
The result of the research was a smartcard based solution that also allowed for
cash payments and automated ID validation for those IDs with magnetic stripes.
Paper passes and transfers would be eliminated entirely. "We decided to 'tear off the
band-aid,' and we are so much better off
for doing so," said Hobin.

Passengers Take Control
"Our solution needed to be robust and
reliable," said Sabeena Haridas Genfare's
Program Manager. "With TARC taking such
a bold step toward improving their fare
payment process, we knew the bar was
raised for our team."
The solutions were developed on the
Genfare side of the project, while Hobin's
team at TARC branded it MyTARC (indicative of the control that passengers were
gaining with the new system) and set about
educating passengers and the community on the new program and its features.
According to Angela Ubben, a Project
Manager at TARC, the outreach included
establishing a MyTARC branded bus, which
served as a mobile customer service desk,
complete with a camera and MyTARC card
printer. "We took the MyTARC Bus out to
the community every week leading up to
the implementation of the new program to
get people signed up and to issue MyTARC
cards, right there on the bus." According

to Ubben, the MyTARC Bus is still in use as
the outreach continues.

One Weekend to Implement
Genfare installed pilot systems on five
TARC vehicles to test the MyTARC solution. According to Genfare's Haridas,
"both Genfare and TARC were completely
satisfied with the testing, to the point that
the team decided the complete implementation could occur over one weekend in
early 2019."
To accomplish a seamless transition
and to take the best possible care of passengers, TARC eliminated the need to pay
fares that weekend, to avoid any concerns
over inconsistent fare payment capabilities from one bus to another as the conversions were taking place.
"It was all-hands-on-deck," said Hobin,
who cited the technical support teams
from both TARC and Genfare as critical in
accomplishing the swift implementation.
"There were some long days and early
mornings, and all of our administrative
team members were riding buses and
addressing concerns as they arose." All
TARC buses had the new technology by the
4 a.m. pull-out on Monday, and the entire
solution went live.
The passenger outreach and education
paid off, but as with any significant shift in
fare payment systems, there was a large
number of passengers who needed to receive MyTARC cards that morning. The lines
at TARC's Union Station location were long,
but the team rose to the challenge and set
up multiple lines to ensure everyone who
needed a smart card received one.

Massive Improvement
to Customer Service
Now that the "tremendously important
changes" had been made, it was time for
Hobin's team to assess the results. "We
were so pleased that the vast majority
of the customer feedback was positive,
even regarding the elimination of paper
transfers," said Hobin. Hobin said the
bus operators even described the improvements as something just short of
pure ecstasy, because TARC's bold decision-making and Genfare's technical
solutions facilitated an entirely efficient
boarding and fare payment process for
everyone. 

JULY/AUGUST 2019 | MassTransitmag.com | Mass Transit |

17


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Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook
People & Places
A New Standard Shapes Commuter Rail in Boston
Connected Vehicles: Tampa
Beyond the Bus: Charge Management
Driven by Data
Making the Case for Standardization in MaaS
Best Practices
Products
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
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Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - A New Standard Shapes Commuter Rail in Boston
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Mass Transit - 17
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Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - Connected Vehicles: Tampa
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Mass Transit - Beyond the Bus: Charge Management
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Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - Driven by Data
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Mass Transit - Making the Case for Standardization in MaaS
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Mass Transit - Best Practices
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