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The automated fare collection (AFC) system market is anticipated to grow significantly from 2016 to 2024 owing to its increased usage in public transport. AFC system provides easy, efficient solution by eliminating manual fare collection. It has helped in reducing customer waiting time for buying tickets. Fare collection has evolved from cash, tickets, tokens, monthly passes to AFC. It consists of automatic gate equipment, ticket vending machines, & checking terminals.
AFC require a less human resource, possesses multi-operator capabilities, has less revenue leakage, cannot be manipulated and the system is amenable to fare changes. The management can acquire transportation reports quickly. Unlike the traditional fare system, AFC can store and track customer information.
Lack of proper awareness about AFC usage is a major hurdle in its implementation. Reforms in transport sector take time due to slow government investment. For the smooth operation of AFC’s, skilled personnel is required. They need proper infrastructure for implementation and are costly to develop and install. Privacy, system longevity and lack of standards are also restraining the AFC market growth.
AFC’s have software as well as hardware components. System’s technologies include a smart card, near field communication (NFC), optical character recognition, and magnetic strips. Smart cards have magnetic strips on them which can store information like name of the customer, daily route, fare plan and entry/exit timings. AFC’s use NFC, which allows contactless information sharing.
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Monorail and metropolitan railway network has grown in the recent past and is expected to continue a similar trend over the forecast period. Monorails and railways have to handle a high number of passengers. AFC’s provide simple, easy to operate, ticketing facility and finds wide applications in this sector. Paper tickets are easy to recycle and can be used to commit fraud. A large number of staff is also required to issue & check them. AFC’s eliminate these drawbacks by providing paperless transaction. Due to increasing government investment, global railway sector is expected to grow over the forecast period contributing to AFC sales worldwide.
AFC’s encourage travelers to commute by public transport. It provides crucial data such as regional collection, passenger preferences regarding route & timings, and intensity of passenger flow. It also provides customers with fair, convenient incentives, distance based fares, and replaceable traveling options. These systems are easy for accounting and can handle emergency situations. Due to all these benefits, global transport systems such as airways, Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) are embracing AFC’s which is further expected to expand AFC market.
The prominent players in the AFC market include Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH, Vix Technology, Atos SE, Cubic Transportation Systems, Omron Corporation, ST Electronics, Thales Group, NXP Semiconductors, Trapeze Group and Advanced Card Systems Ltd. Companies are trying to get into strategic partnerships with public transport and government agencies for AFC installation. The industry participants are seeking to introduce innovations to attract more customers.
Established in 1969, ST Electronics operates in AFC sector and provides solutions to more than 100 countries. The company has installed AFC’s for Bangkok Mass Transit System, Singapore MRT lines, and for Guangzhou Metro line.
Advanced Card Systems Ltd (ACS) was established in 1995 and develops smart cards & their reading/writing devices and supplies them to more than 100 countries. ACS applies its expertise and knowledge to provide world-class AFC systems for rail, ferry, bus, road toll, parking, and convenience stores.
North America is expected to be the key region for the AFC market due to the high spending on infrastructure over the forecast period. Technological advancements in the U.S, the established standards and the demand for convenient services, are anticipated to play a significant role in fuelling AFC global market demand.
Countries such as India, China and Japan are expected to witness a rise in demand of AFC’s due to the increased construction activity and government expenditure on transport. Government efforts to improve commutation facilities and service to the people are anticipated to cause a rise in demand in the regional market.
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