In times of social distancing, riders can see the capacity of a vehicle in real-time, so they do not board an over-crowded bus. Zed Digital

Given the critical need to stop the spread of the coronavirus in North America, transit agencies are faced with the challenges of temporary fare suspension, service reductions, higher cleaning costs, and a severe decrease in ridership. There is a need to enhance driver and rider health safety if public transportation is to continue to be viable in this new era of social distancing.

ZED Digital, a transit technology company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with offices in Montreal, Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Los Angeles, recently launched a patent-pending touchless fare collection technology that can enable continued fare collection and at the same time enhance driver and passenger safety.

ZIG is a smart phone based Mobile Ticketing solution that enables hands-free vehicle entry for passengers. Riders purchase tickets via smartphones using credit cards from their homes. This avoids a visit to transit centers or grocery stores to purchase tickets or tap cards. ZIG comprises of “Internet of Things” sensors that connect over-the-air with the rider’s smartphones to validate fares as they board. Riders need not wait around the validators nor touch them, thereby reducing lines.

The validators can be installed at the rear or front doors of buses and connect with a visual display unit installed up front where drivers can monitor boarding. Furthermore, drivers and control rooms can receive signals for fraud or alerts raised by fellow passengers about fraud or other unsafe activity on the bus.

ZIG has the capability to provide streaming real-time data directly from vehicles. Bluetooth sensors stream real-time bus location, passenger capacity, speed, origin, and destination of trips in seconds directly to the cloud. In times of social distancing, riders can see the capacity of a vehicle in real-time, so they do not board an over-crowded bus.

The solution is significantly less bulky than most fare validation solutions currently in the market. The ZIG validators are about the size of a smartphone, making them a flexible solution that can be affixed almost anywhere. Moreover, they are three to 10 times less expensive than fareboxes and are quick to install.

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