The objective of the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) is to ensure that the proper fare is collected from each passenger using the light rail mass transit system. The AFCS is a closed system where every passenger is required to have a valid ticket to enter the paid area of the origination station and again to exit from the paid area at the destination station.

Most AFCSs consists of station equipment for ticket purchase, ticket status and passenger control (Ticket Vending Machines, Ticket Analysers, and Automatic Gates), computers used to control and monitor the station equipment, and a Central Computer System to gather revenue data from the stations and generate revenue and performance reports.

AFCSs utilise credit card size magnetically encoded polyester or paper tickets for passengers, employee passes and test tickets for the maintenance staff. All tickets in the system are normally pre-encoded with a permanent unique serial number that cannot be changed. The ticket encoding includes an entry/exit bit that is set on each use to prevent pass back (repeated attempts to enter or exit without a corresponding exit or enter).

There are three types of tickets normally used in AFCSs. They are:

  • The Single Journey Ticket, valid for a single trip between a pair of stations for which the applicable fare is less than or equal to the value left on the ticket.

  • The Stored Value Ticket, which contains a prepaid amount (value) from which the applicable fare for each journey made is deducted until the value has been used up. They may have value re-added to them, giving Stored Value Tickets the economic advantage.

  • The Contactless Smart Card, which operates similarly to the Stored Value Ticket but does not rely on magnetically encoding information on the card.

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