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Arc Smart Fare System

I am not sure Vancouver has ever got their tap off system to work for buses.

It isn't an Edmonton problem - smart cards are notoriously hard to do. People think it is a simple upgrade from stored value cards, but it is maddeningly complicated.
 
I am not sure Vancouver has ever got their tap off system to work for buses.

It isn't an Edmonton problem - smart cards are notoriously hard to do. People think it is a simple upgrade from stored value cards, but it is maddeningly complicated.
Aren't the words smart cards and stored value cards used interchangeably? London's explanation in their FAQ uses stored value as a definition of the smart card.

I'm sure it is edit: complicated nonetheless. NYC as well as others have a decent system going. I feel like we are reinventing the wheel a bit here.
 
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Aren't the words smart cards and stored value cards used interchangeably? London's explanation in their FAQ uses stored value as a definition of the smart card.

I'm sure it is edit: complicated nonetheless. NYC as well as others have a decent system going. I feel like we are reinventing the wheel a bit here.

NYC has a super old fashioned magnetic stripe system and they are just now transitioning slowly to a proper smart card system. Though they are taking a reverse approach and supporting Credit and Debit payments from day 1 with a smart card to come later.
 
Aren't the words smart cards and stored value cards used interchangeably? London's explanation in their FAQ uses stored value as a definition of the smart card.

I'm sure it is edit: complicated nonetheless. NYC as well as others have a decent system going. I feel like we are reinventing the wheel a bit here.
I didn’t go back and read a few posts so apologies if I repeat at all.
So yes and no. It really depends. Most ‘name brand’ systems started as stored value cards and have had smart features added slowly over time with limitations acknowledged and worked around. If your payment system is willing to extend 1 days worth of credit to people or force everyone to carry a minimum balance the would cover 95% of daily trips you can implement a system that seems very smart but is still reasonably easy - many systems like that you can only add money at station vending machines or convenience stores. You can leave out features like automatic reload through an account, card and value replacement if lost and all the card is is a stored value card. they are easy-have been around since the 80s at least-your readers all they need to do is look for the $, a pass, or a valid transfer. And that is it. No network connectivity needed. You can even do zones if you require tap out as long as you enforce it with a stick-everyone without a tap out pays the highest fare by default.

and most user wouldn’t even really notice the difference or really care as long as you say what the limitations are. But try keeping to add features and it gets really complicated. Like each bus carrying the entire backend database with it on-board. Like reconciling 1000 offline buses worth of transactions at the end of the day, running the auto reload and updating from online transactions adding balances, and then pushing the update back out to the buses. Perfectly every time. Even then people will complain that the automatic reload isn’t instant, and the people with the most complicated use case will inevitably cause failures and complain (no one would notice if you just extended some credit but who is going to convince a public entity to take that risk).

A big thing too: we experience oyster and other cards as tourists, using them only as stored value cards for the most part and not using any advanced features. Then we get the advanced features and compare the user experience between a simple use and a complicated use. It is pretty inevitable that we find our implementations wanting.

Calgary instead is going for using smartphones as passes with a QR code scan plus added debit and credit at LRT. Much simpler. Granted far less worry about regional integration down south but we will see whose solution is operating first.
 
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I didn’t go back and read a few posts so apologies if I repeat at all.
So yes and no. It really depends. Most ‘name brand’ systems started as stored value cards and have had smart features added slowly over time with limitations acknowledged and worked around. If your payment system is willing to extend 1 days worth of credit to people or force everyone to carry a minimum balance the would cover 95% of daily trips you can implement a system that seems very smart but is still reasonably easy - many systems like that you can only add money at station vending machines or convenience stores. You can leave out features like automatic reload through an account, card and value replacement if lost and all the card is is a stored value card. they are easy-have been around since the 80s at least-your readers all they need to do is look for the $, a pass, or a valid transfer. And that is it. No network connectivity needed. You can even do zones if you require tap out as long as you enforce it with a stick-everyone without a tap out pays the highest fare by default.

and most user wouldn’t even really notice the difference or really care as long as you say what the limitations are. But try keeping to add features and it gets really complicated. Like each bus carrying the entire backend database with it on-board. Like reconciling 1000 offline buses worth of transactions at the end of the day, running the auto reload and updating from online transactions adding balances, and then pushing the update back out to the buses. Perfectly every time. Even then people will complain that the automatic reload isn’t instant, and the people with the most complicated use case will inevitably cause failures and complain (no one would notice if you just extended some credit but who is going to convince a public entity to take that risk).

A big thing too: we experience oyster and other cards as tourists, using them only as stored value cards for the most part and not using any advanced features. Then we get the advanced features and compare the user experience between a simple use and a complicated use. It is pretty inevitable that we find our implementations wanting.

Calgary instead is going for using smartphones as passes with a QR code scan plus added debit and credit at LRT. Much simpler. Granted far less worry about regional integration down south but we will see whose solution is operating first.

Phones are a fine supplement but I think there are a number of advantages to a proper smart card system.
 
Reduces costs for the operator, makes things more convenient for users.
They do compared to cash for sure. But for systems where 80-90% of users were using paper tickets purchased in bulk or passes I’m not so sure. It isn’t like we are going to phase out cash. We are just going to convert the users of passes and tickets. Where are the savings?

As for convenience you need the full smart system to work to be more convenient. Will it be cheaper than just mailing someone a paper pass each month to make it work?

Fare integration for occasional users I guess will be better - but for pass users the lack of a smart card isn’t stopping fare integration.
 
So it looks like there are updates RE Smart Fare implementation on the Edmonton website: https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/transit/smart-fare.aspx

It seems for the first phase, fares will be of a flat rate, but a daily and monthly cap will be implemented (different amounts for different groups such as students, seniors, etc.). This will remove the need for a monthly transit pass. I think this is awesome and a great first step to encouraging transit use more! It also seems the first phase will be limited to the smart card, but full implementation will include other methods such as credit and debit. Pilot testing starts fall 2020.

Once the system has been completely rolled out it seems they will be shifting to the distance based fare, but further engagement will be needed.

The smart fare system will work in: Edmonton, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and Beaumont
 
Now THIS is what's going to bring the region's transit service to the next level. Being able to simply tap a card and spend credits almost all around the region (like in the largest city transit systems around the world) instead of either crumpling a ticket in your pocket or spending a copious amount of money on a transit pass will make more people use transit for sure!
 
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Now THIS is what's going to bring the region's transit service to the next level. Being able to simply tap a card and spend credits almost all around the region (like in the largest city transit systems around the world) instead of either crumpling a ticket in your pocket or spending a copious amount of money on a transit pass will make more people use transit for sure!
Yet we will still have crappy routing, schedules, buses traveling in packs, and countless other issues that push people to cars. I took the bus for a solid two years and just couldn't take it anymore. Waiting 35-45 minutes on a regular basis past the time the bus was supposed to arrive is not acceptable. Smart fare is not going to bring me back. The opening of the new LRT will bring me back, but I will never rely on the bus system while I live in this city again.
 
@westcoastjos Well... I'm sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience with the system, but when you put things into perspective the delays and issues start to make more sense. The network is shabby because (A) the routes and capacities are outdated and when you compound that with the fact that (B) all bus systems have certain imperfections and flaws, whether it be due to city planning, environmental conditions, etc. then it can be understood why the service here isn't optimal. However, when you take into account the Bus Network Redesign which will now value higher capacity and faster travel (along with more direct routes) AND the LRT expansion, I'm actually very hopeful for the future of ETS and am looking forward to being an avid and satisfied user of it in the near future!
 

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