Electronic, off-vehicle

Off-vehicle ticket-issuing machines provide facilities for customers to purchase tickets prior to travelling on passenger transport services.

Off-vehicle ticket-issuing machines occur in three main technology concepts:

  • Ticket-issuing machine similar to the in-vehicle ETM, which is simply located off-vehicle to allow ticket sales to be processed prior to boarding in order to eliminate delays at boarding and reduce vehicle dwell times.
  • Booking-office machines, which are increasingly based on “Point of Sale” and merchant technology.
  • Self-service machines, which range from compact units that dispense a limited range of single-journey paper tickets, through to advanced machines which offer a wide range of fare products including integrated tickets, and which accept a wide range of payment types (cash, stored value, credit cards).

Off-vehicle ticket issuing machines are used in three main contexts:

  • Booking offices, agents and other ticket sales locations, remote from the point of boarding.
  • Ticket sales kiosks adjacent to the point of boarding. This includes BRT stations, and the entrance to controlled zones in terminals and stations.
  • Self-service machines located on stations, platforms, and bus terminals.

The range of fare products available at off-vehicle ETMs varies widely.

Benefits of off-vehicle electronic ticket-issuing machines are:

  • Provides opportunities for customers to purchase tickets in advance of travel.
  • Decouples the ticket sales and boarding processes, allowing faster boarding and reducing dwell time.
  • Generates electronic data which can be transferred directly to the corporate IT systems.

Cautions with regard to off-vehicle electronic ticket-issuing machines are:

  • Cost of both the equipment and the software development can be quite high.
  • Requires a structured back-office support to generate and manage the configuration data, and to process the transaction data and reporting.
  • For self-service machines, the user interface can be confusing.
  • For self-service machines, risk of vandalism, exposure to harsher environment and need to provide secure power supply.
  • Need to establish a regular cash collecting and servicing regime.
  • Need to establish an effective maintenance regime.
  • Inventory management.