September-October 2022 - 36

ACHIEVING
E qu i t a bl e
M o b i li t y
A flexible fare payment system
lays a foundation to provide better
service for all customers.
By Daria van Engelen, contributor
T
he most effective way to
achieve equitable mobility is
better service, not cheaper bad
service. An important prerequisite
for better service is a fare
collection system that provides
advanced capabilities at a reasonable
price and enables the
transit agency to understand its
community and tailor solutions to
meet the needs of everyone in it,
with particular attention to those
with limited resources.
Low-income riders represent
more than 35 percent of transit
riders and are harder hit by transit
costs than choice riders. In addition,
more than 10 percent of Black
and Hispanic people are unbanked
and almost 20 percent of Black and
Hispanic adults don't have smart
phones. A bank account, credit card
or smart phone is typically required
to take advantage of fare discounts
or convenient payment options provided
by monthly pass purchases,
mobile ticketing or open payments.
Fare Free?
The idea that transit should be a
free public service has been around
for a long time but gained prominence
during the pandemic, when
many agencies eliminated fare collection
to ensure social distancing
between riders and transit workers.
The practice was meant to be
temporary, but some advocates believe
it should be made permanent.
The pandemic showed that
transit is an essential public service.
Transit-dependent riders earn
less than choice riders and spend
more of their incomes on transportation.
But not everyone believes
free fares is the best way to provide
equitable mobility. There are many
agencies that have faced challenges
with vandalism and rider safety
due to unruly passengers and an
increase in non-destination riders.
This is not to say free transit
never makes sense. For small urban
areas with modest ridership,
large rural areas with low ridership
or university-dominated communities,
going fare free may work.
Clearly there are special cases
when optimizing fare policy to
meet local needs sometimes means
charging no fare at all.
Fare payment is not the impediment
to transit use that some
portray it to be. On the contrary, it
serves several important functions:
* Generates essential revenue. For
larger agencies, fare collection
generates a substantial percentage
of the budget which cannot
be easily replaced. Given the scale
36 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022
RIDERS VALUE
on-time
performance,
service
frequency and
convenient
locations more
than a free ride.
and uncertainty of federal funding
that would be needed to make
transit free nationwide, it seems
likely eliminating fares would
necessitate a reduction in service.
* Provides valuable ridership information.
A modern fare collection
system using electronic fare
media generates detailed ridership
information of value for service
planning. The data can be analyzed
to determine how many
riders use a particular route, where
and when they boarded, what
routes they transferred to, and - by
pairing round trips - where they
got off. The transactional database
can be analyzed to determine travel
patterns, preferred fare media,
frequency and other characteristics
of use and shifts over time.
* Serves as a gatekeeping function.
Charging even a nominal fare
significantly reduces difficulties
arising from problem passengers.
http://www.MassTransitmag.com

September-October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September-October 2022

Editor’s Notebook
People & Places
Employee Initiative Drives Growth and Success at C-TRAN
Paving the Road for Zero-Emission Bus Fleets
Rail Trespassing Prevention: Cameras Provide Unblinking Eye
Achieving Equitable Mobility
Open for All: The Modular Route to Contactless Open Loop Fare Payments
Innovating to Address Rising Passenger Expectations
Products
September-October 2022 - 1
September-October 2022 - 2
September-October 2022 - 3
September-October 2022 - 4
September-October 2022 - 5
September-October 2022 - Editor’s Notebook
September-October 2022 - 7
September-October 2022 - People & Places
September-October 2022 - 9
September-October 2022 - 10
September-October 2022 - 11
September-October 2022 - 12
September-October 2022 - 13
September-October 2022 - Employee Initiative Drives Growth and Success at C-TRAN
September-October 2022 - 15
September-October 2022 - 16
September-October 2022 - 17
September-October 2022 - 18
September-October 2022 - 19
September-October 2022 - 20
September-October 2022 - 21
September-October 2022 - Paving the Road for Zero-Emission Bus Fleets
September-October 2022 - 23
September-October 2022 - 24
September-October 2022 - 25
September-October 2022 - 26
September-October 2022 - 27
September-October 2022 - 28
September-October 2022 - 29
September-October 2022 - Rail Trespassing Prevention: Cameras Provide Unblinking Eye
September-October 2022 - 31
September-October 2022 - 32
September-October 2022 - 33
September-October 2022 - 34
September-October 2022 - 35
September-October 2022 - Achieving Equitable Mobility
September-October 2022 - 37
September-October 2022 - 38
September-October 2022 - 39
September-October 2022 - Open for All: The Modular Route to Contactless Open Loop Fare Payments
September-October 2022 - 41
September-October 2022 - 42
September-October 2022 - 43
September-October 2022 - 44
September-October 2022 - 45
September-October 2022 - Innovating to Address Rising Passenger Expectations
September-October 2022 - 47
September-October 2022 - Products
September-October 2022 - 49
September-October 2022 - 50
September-October 2022 - 51
September-October 2022 - 52
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