Fare calculation and charging


The Fare Calculation and charging functions relate to the individual trip. This is separate from the pricing and payment for fare products (e.g. time-based ticket, multi-journey tickets), which are performed under the Ticket Sales and Payment functions.

The Fare Calculation and Charging consists of three distinct but related functions:

  • calculation of the applicable fare for the journey being undertaken
  • performing the transaction that will result in receipt of the applicable fare
  • recording the transactions

The Fare calculation function needs to perform the following tasks:

  • Identify the journey being undertaken. This may be done by the user selecting from button or screen choices, or by the driver/conductor based on what the customer has stated. Alternatively, the user may validate on exit, in which case the boarding and alighting points are determined by the ticketing system. For flat fare systems, it is sufficient to identify that a fare is to be charged.
  • Identify the fare product being presented, or whether it is a cash sale
  • Apply the applicable rules for the fare product
  • Determine whether any discount or special pricing is to be applied, either due to the time of day, customer type, or the fare product presented
  • Identify whether the fare needs to be modified to take account of an interchange/transfer already made, or a downstream interchange/transfer requested by the user, and apply fare rules as appropriate
  • Identify whether any capping applies to the trip, and if so apply the fare-capping rule
  • Determine the final calculation of the tariff, and pass this to the Fare Charging function

The Fare Charging function initiates the collection or allocation of the revenues due for the trip. Depending on the configuration and the fare products used, the fare itself might not be physically collected at the time the journey is undertaken. In such cases (which are the majority for electronic ticketing) the Fare Charging function initiates the transaction record against which the Operator or Authority will be reimbursed for the travel in the downstream revenue allocation processes.

Fare Charging is performed in one of the following ways:

  • The fare amount is displayed to the driver, conductor or sales agent for manual collection of cash from the customer
  • The fare amount is displayed on a farebox for the customer to insert the appropriate amount of cash
  • The fare amount is advised to a ticket dispensing machine or turnstile and to the customer, for the customer to insert cash, stored money or credit/debit card.
  • The fare amount is advised to a card reader, which deducts stored value from the card. The transaction record is submitted to the stored value manager for reimbursement
  • The fare amount is recorded in a transaction record for recovery from 3rd parties (e.g. debit/credit card accounts, concessionary travel authorising entities)

Technologies, data and resources

Fare calculation and charging are software processes. They are conducted within the fare collection equipment, and supported by the associated data exchange facilities and the security systems.

The data requirements are:

  • Identification of the route, boarding and lighting points, customer type, fare product and interchange/transfer conditions relating to the trip being undertaken
  • Fare tables for the route(s) being used and boarding/alighting pairs
  • Fare rules for the accepted fare products
  • Calculated fare data exchanged with devices that will charge and collect it
  • Complete records generated and captured for all transactions, stored and transferred for revenue recovery and distribution

Advantages and Cautions

The primary advantages of Fare Calculation and Charging are to:

  • ensure that the fare rules are correctly applied and the correct fare determined
  • manage complex ranges of fare products and fare values
  • support the automation of the fare collection process
  • generate the fare-related elements of the transaction record

The principal cautions in relation to Fare Calculation and Charging are:

  • fare rules and fare tables can be extremely complex
  • The software can be very expensive and time-consuming to develop and fully test
  • Maintenance, checking and updating of fare tables often imposes quite substantial administrative and technical burdens
  • security requirements may be very substantial for electronic ticketing, especially for 3rd party and banking sector payment instruments
  • multi-modal and multi-operator integrated ticketing increases complexity. It may require the Operator to work within a common framework with other modes, whose ticketing equipment and fare collection logistics are quite different.

Relevant Case Studies (please see Fare Collection Toolkit)

Dublin, Karnataka State, Sri Lanka