Flowbird Transport Intelligence was awarded a contract by the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) to deploy an account-based fare payment solution for the agency’s new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
The Birmingham Xpress BRT System will connect 25 neighborhoods to opportunities and vital services along its corridor. In addition, it will enable customers to reach employment, educational facilities, historic sites, and cultural and healthcare centers. The system, which is comprised of 32 bus stations in Birmingham, Alabama, will implement Flowbird’s innovative transit technologies to improve travel time, lower costs, and enhance service on the BRT system.
The City of Birmingham began designing the “Birmingham Xpress BRT System” with the goal to deliver fast, reliable, and cost-effective mobility services for communities in and around Birmingham. The Flowbird account-based ticketing system will use Flowbird’s Strada Ticket Vending Machines, Axio Ticket Validators, Handheld Ticket Validation Devices, and the Mobile Transit Ticketing App, each integrated into the company’s cloud-based fare payment solution, Flowbird Hub.
The Strada StreetSmart Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) will be located on each of the 32 bus stations to allow for ticket purchases on-site. The Strada is designed as a low-maintenance and high-durability machine that manages off-board fare collection. Riders can select one or multiple fare options from the easy-to-read display screen and even add value to an existing Birmingham BRT account. The machines accept U.S. coins, bills, and debit or credit cards, and are a secure payment solution with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) compliance.
In addition, Flowbird’s agency-branded mobile ticketing app, named the myXpress app, will be used as a contactless payment option for purchasing fare tickets. Once a user downloads the app from the Apple or Android app store, they simply create an account and may purchase their fare tickets in advance, track their fare history, and even view station stops along their route.
The BRT system’s 11 buses will each be equipped with Flowbird’s Axio Ticket Validator for on-board fare validation. The Axio runs on the latest open Android operating system and includes both a contactless smartcard interface and an encrypted barcode scanner. As riders board, the device can scan and validate tickets produced from the Strada TVMs and the digital bar code from the myXpress App. By integrating the validator with both forms of ticketing, the customer is able to have a seamless boarding experience, regardless of how the ticket was purchased. The Axio validators are Open Payments enabled, giving the agency the option to accept EMV bank card payments on-board the buses.
Agency staff will also have access to the Flowbird Hub Fare Payment Platform, which allows for central configuration, monitoring, and control of all devices. Flowbird Hub supports both account-based ticketing and pass/ticket-based systems — making it the ideal solution for Birmingham’s multi-payment option environment. Information is consistently fed back to the cloud-based monitoring system so that potential issues can be addressed. The user-friendly platform allows agency staff to easily monitor each device and view important diagnostics.
The new modern fare payment system is planned to go live in 2022 and will serve the Birmingham community for years to come by providing more convenient payment methods, increase access to the transit system, and fast boarding times. The Flowbird system will initially be deployed for the BRT system and is scalable to allow the agency to deploy it across its entire fleet.