Travel authorisation and evidence


This section covers what is normally termed ‘ticketing’, but as tickets are not always used, and other concepts may also be involved, the more formal terms ‘Travel Authorisation’ and ‘Evidence’ are used here. The reader will understand the distinctions after reading through this section.

The Travel Authorisation and Evidence functions consist of two distinct but related functions:

  • The process of authorising the customer – or more precisely the ticket held by the customer - as ’good for travel’
  • The physical and/or electronic evidence that the customer is authorised to travel

Travel authorisation is performed in a number of ways:

  • payment of the appropriate fare on boarding (to driver, seated conductor) or in-vehicle (to roving conductor)
  • payment of the appropriate fare to station staff, or at turnstile in case of pre-boarding payment with ‘walk-on’ boarding
  • visual inspection of a travel document by vehicle or station personnel
  • presentation of a machine-readable travel pass to a machine for checking of validity and authorisation to travel
  • presentation of a machine-readable payment instrument to a machine for deduction of the appropriate fare or creation of a transaction record for post-payment

Evidence of travel authorisation is required for a number of reasons:

  • as proof of payment and as a means to assist revenue protection
  • as a means of generating transaction records
  • to assist administration, accounting and audit processes

Evidence of travel authorisation is performed in the following ways in ITS-related systems:

  • printed ticket (receipt) generated from in-vehicle or platform ticket issuing machines, as proof of payment
  • an electronic travel authorisation or e-ticket is generated and stored on an electronic medium held by the customer (e.g. smart card, mobile phone)
  • in case of a travel pass or other pre-paid/pre-issued fare product, a transaction record is added to the customer card or device as evidence that the ticket was validated
  • for any of the above, a counterpart transaction record is generated and stored in the fare collection system
  • any of the above may be accompanied by an audio or visual signal to demonstrate that a valid travel authorisation has taken place

Technologies, data and resources

The principal technologies used for travel authorisation are:

  • Electronic ticket issuing machines - fixed and portable/handheld
  • Smart card readers
  • Magnetic card readers
  • Electronic ticket media (smart and magnetic cards) and personal devices (mobile phones, PDAs)
  • Supporting software

The data requirements are:

  • Identification of the route, boarding and alighting points, customer type, fare product, and interchange/transfer conditions relating to the trip being undertaken
  • Inputs from the fare calculation and charging processes
  • 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 Ticket Authorisation and evidence are to:

  • ensure that all customers have a valid ticket for travel
  • support the revenue protection processes
  • provide proof of payment and receipts to customers
  • generate transaction records for use in planning, etc.

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

  • ergonomics of the ticket authorisation process must be efficient to be easily understood by customers and to avoid delays in boarding
  • the processes must be designed to minimise opportunities for fare evasion and revenue leakage

Relevant Case Studies (please see Fare Collection Toolkit)

Dublin, Johannesburg, Karnataka State, Sri Lanka