Smart fare machines finally installed on select Edmonton buses, but Calgary’s mobile system is on the fly.

Smart fare machines finally installed on select Edmonton buses June. 2019

Regional transit prepares to pilot fare card system five years after funding approved

A fully electronic ticketing system should be operational by the end of 2020

In 2017, Edmonton opted to sign a contract with Vix Technology to install the account-based electronic ticketing.

“It’s a very large and complex change, for our customers for our internal processes,”

ETS plans to test the new fare card system as a pilot for post-secondary and high school students in September 2020, before it becomes fully operational.

It costs Edmonton Taxpayers at least $27 million for the smart card system Feb. 2014

Edmonton is going ahead with smart transit cards despite concerns they may not reduce the number of people who scam the system by using the LRT without payment.

The city has set aside $7 million to help pay for the scanners needed. The city will apply for grant money from the province to help pay the remaining $20 million.

Calgary Transit looking for a mobile ticketing system Sept. 2018

The city spent five years working with automation solution firm Schneider Electric testing the CONNECT system, but technical issues caused the city to finally cancel the contract.

“[Calgary Transit] is seeking a Mobile Ticketing Solution (MTS) that will allow customers the option of self-service for the provisioning of transit fare products through a mobile application,” a statement on the website read.

Urban Mobility is a Mission of Canadian Urban Transit

CUTA Sept 2017

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) defines Integrated Urban Mobility as The ability for people to move easily from place to place according to their own needs.

By itself, this definition is quite general and open to discussion and interpretation. That is why CUTA supports the definition with the following statement: For CUTA, Integrated Urban Mobility is a people-focused goal that:

  • Starts with public transport service-connected to all modes of transport including walking, cycling, auto, and alternatives to transportation;
  • Enables door-to-door and seamless mobility throughout an urban area;
  • Designed for all segments of the population.


Mobile Payment is the foundation for Urban Mobility. It seems that in the race of the two sister cities of Alberta, Calgary is running fast and in the right direction.

The author has over 19 years of experience in the automated fare collection industry. The latest development of mobile wallets is worth looking into. To learn more, please visit

‎Why Ventra App has 1.5 Stars rating on IOS Store? #Chicago

Why Ventra App rated 1.5* on IOS Store?

Worst app I’ve EVER used.

There was absolutely no thought made into the creation of this horrible app. First tickets are stored on your device, but you still need a connection to their servers to use those tickets. Why!? …

The app also asks for your password EVERYWHERE. …

Ventra App @ IOS Store, shareef777, 01/02/2019

CHICAGO (WLS) — The Ventra app is running again after an outage was reported Monday morning. Ventra is used by the CTA, Metra and by Pace.

Metra said the Ventra App is letting some people use the app, but not purchase tickets on the app.

Ventra said they were experiencing some backend issues with the app and that they apologize for the inconvenience.

Shortly after 10 a.m., Ventra said its app issue has been resolved.

Eyewitness News 7 , July 23, 2019

Possible Caused of the Problem

When you board your train, select “My Metra Tickets” in the Ventra App and tap the ticket you’d like to use. You’ll be prompted to confirm that you want to use your ticket. Then show your mobile ticket to the conductor when the conductor is checking for tickets. He or she will ask you to touch the screen; when you do the colors in the animation change. 


Ventra App requires a server connection to obtain a ticket. When the server is busy or the Internet bandwidth is on high demand during peak hours when passengers go to work in the morning, the user may experience different problems particularly with content is not loading…

Possibly Resolution

Public transportation particularly for mega city like Chicago with millions of people using them every day. Speed is the utmost important parameter. The tickets on the Ventra App should be stored off-line instead of on-line after purchased. The usage of a ticket should be deducted off-line to avoid dependence on the Internet connection and the availability of the server.

Like the Ventra smart card, the value deduction and the validation are done off-line and therefore, there have been no major complaints.

Ventra App should look for mobile technologies which are an off-line based like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or some new technologies. To learn more, please visit

TAP Card should go after the high-profit retail market in Los Angeles.

TAP is one of the largest smart card systems in the United States, with an average of 24 million transactions processed every month, serving 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines.  

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to expand the network of retail locations at which customers can purchase and reload TAP cards. TAP riders can currently buy and reload TAP cards at more than 450 retail locations across Los Angeles County; it will expand that total to more than 2,000 stores in 2020. Source: PaymentsJournal

As an incentive to install the card readers, a store receives 3.75% of each transaction as commission. Source: Dailynews.

Average credit card processing fees range from 1.5% to 2.9% for swiped credit cards. Source:

Therefore, a 3.75% transaction fee for top-up is a rip-off.

Potential High-Profit Income from Retail Market

TAP Card with a big user base can be a good cashless payment for convenience stores, fast food restaurants or retail stores. It has a competitive advantage over Visa or Master card that people carry it every day and there is no penalty for late payment.

If TAP Card can be a spin-off, operated independently of LA Metro, it can charge the LA Metro 1.5% transaction fee like a credit card. If the credit card company can make a good profit with 1.5%, so does TAP Card.

The 24 million transactions monthly with an average of $1.75 will give TAP Card monthly income of $63 million.

On top of transportation income, TAP Card can go after the high transaction amount retail market in Los Angeles. Taking a small piece of the pie from Visa and Mastercard will be a big number.


With the big customer base like TAP card and also latest mobile payment technology, TAP card can be easily established itself as the local cashless payment icon in Los Angeles.

Not only it saves the taxpayers’ big money to invest further on new account-based open payment for LA Metro, but it will also bring attractive income to the city of Los Angeles.

Learn more about the latest mobile payment technology for public transit and retail, please visit

SF Bay Area’s MTC to deliver next-generation fare payment technology and operational services to the Clipper

Source from

Clipper currently links 22 regional transit operators and facilitates more than 825,000 journeys per weekday across bus, rail, subway and ferry services, operated by Cubic since 2009

Last year, a $349 million contract promised to deliver a range of new features.

The new system will be rolled out in phases over a five-year period transitioning into a ten-year full operations term commencing in 2022.

Mobile App-based

An integrated mobile app that will enable customers to access real-time information, reload their accounts, plan trips and tap their phones as virtual Clipper cards through fare gates and on buses in much the same way.

The major benefit will be user-friendly and a one-stop service from the mobile App.


Online fare purchases will be made immediately available for use and an account-based architecture coupled with an open API portal will facilitate creative partnerships and systems extensions.

The benefit will open up more applications for the convenience or benefit to the passengers or users.

The drawback is that the taxpayer will have to absorb the initial huge investment and also giveaway the local profitable business to Visa, Mastercard, Apple pay,…


The plan has not clearly stated that mobile communication technologies to be used. Will it be still using existing NFC and maybe QR code-based technologies?

This is a critical step toward a truly smart city in which people don’t have to carry any more cards.

The author has 18 years of experience in the related industry. To learn more about the new technology of mobile payment for automated fare collection, please visit

New York City public transportation fare collection system lags behind third world countries.

New York City public transportation fare collection system lags behind third world countries.

Hillary Clinton, who had to swipe 5 times in a row to enter the subway in New York City during her presidential campaign in 2016.

MetroCard System

One of the greatest symbols of the outdated system is the MetroCard — the flimsy fare card that was introduced a quarter-century ago.

Plans to replace the MetroCard over the last decade have been mired in delays — and costs have soared — even as other cities adopted more durable tap cards. Washington’s subway introduced its SmarTrip card two decades ago, and Hong Kong has the Octopus card 30 years ago.

OMNY System

OMNY is being put in place by Cubic, a payments company behind the MetroCard and that oversaw London’s fare system. The project is expected to cost about $644 million — $200 million more than what the authority estimated in 2016.

The agency will offer a physical OMNY card in 2021, and the MetroCard will meet its demise in 2023. Subway officials say there will always be a cash option for New Yorkers who do not have bank cards or smartphones.

The idea has progressed in fits and starts. A decade ago, the authority’s chairman, Jay Walder, had wanted to bring “tap-and-go” cards to New York after he implemented the Oyster card in London. Officials wanted to phase out the MetroCard as early as 2012, but it did not happen, in part because credit card companies were slow to make their cards compatible.

The conclusion

New York City does not learn the financial model which Hong Kong adopted more than 30 years ago and the Octopus Card in Hong Kong is the most success cashless payment from public transportation to the retail market.

It is very important to understand the relationship among all stakeholders in the automatic fare collection system. It is so obvious that the biggest winner for the new OMNY system is the credit card issuers because they will earn the transaction fee without investment and the biggest loser is the New York City government who has to pay US$ 644 million without any financial benefits at all.

The writer has over 19 years of experience in the related industry. To learn more about the latest mobile technology for automatic fare collection system, please visit