Travel sales and payment


Travel sales and payment cover the processes of selling travel authorisations and receiving the corresponding payments. This section focuses on the ITS-supported applications and services, and does not aim to cover the very extensive non-ITS fare collection domain.

The travel sales application needs to support the following functions:

  • Information about the range of travel products and their prices
  • Procurement, initialisation and distribution of ticketing media and other non-ticket travel authorisations
  • Management of the sales process
  • Management of online processes
  • Management of electronic and physical security processes
  • Generation and transfer of fare product and/or travel authorisation data for recording on the ticketing medium or authorisation
  • Collection of information relating to all transactions
  • Collection of electronic funds for online sales
  • Collection of electronic funds (credit, debit cards) for direct sales
  • Collection of cash from customers
  • Management of cash logistics, including fareboxes and safes

Travel sales for urban transit are conducted through the following channels:

  • Direct sales on the vehicle
  • Direct sales at the bus stop or bus station
  • Direct sales from authorised ticket agents
  • Sales from self-service/vending machines
  • Online sales

All of the above channels can sell electronic fare products, although in-vehicle sales are usually restricted to occasional and low-value tickets, and the (re)loading of value to ticketing media already held by the passenger. Similarly, in-vehicle payment channels generally avoid cash or credit/debit card transactions that require on-the-spot authorisation.

Technologies, data and resources

The following technologies are used for travel sales and payments:

  • In-vehicle ticket issuing and value-loading machines
  • In-vehicle vending and loading machines
  • Self-service/vending machines at stops, stations and other transit-related locations
  • Office vending and reloading machines, for use both at ticket offices and at authorised ticket agents
  • On-line payment channels
  • Dedicated ticketing media, including smart cards and magnetic stripe tickets
  • Non-ticket travel authorisations stored on generic media (e.g. on mobile phones, PDAs)
  • Security key and algorithms
  • Secure Application Modules (SAMs)
  • Fareboxes
  • Cash counting machines
  • Data bases and associated servers
  • Communications channels for data transfer

The principal data requirements for Travel Sales and Payment applications are:

  • Reference data for all fare products, including pricing
  • Customer data base
  • Machine and vendor databases
  • Security authorisations
  • Sales transaction data

Advantages and Cautions

The primary advantages of ITS-supported Travel Sales and Payment applications are to:

  • minimise cash handling on or near the vehicle, allowing faster boarding times and increased throughput
  • minimise cash within the system, with security benefits
  • increase the number and range of channels for ticket sales, and harnesses internet-based and other e-sales opportunities
  • improve image of transit

The principal cautions in relation to Travel Sales and Payment applications are:

  • substantial organisational capacity of high integrity
  • need for a high degree of technical capacity and support
  • need for expert security against both opportunistic and/or organised fraud
  • need for extensive database organisation and management, and associated data protection
  • need to facilitate fare payment by all classes of travellers, including those not able to afford pre-loaded fare cards

Relevant Case Studies

Dublin, Zurich

Johannesburg, Karnataka State (please see Fare Collection Toolkit)