Innovative Solutions Award Winner: Fare Collection - The Wave (Mobile, Ala.)/Genfare
In another first for METRO’s Innovative Solutions Awards, we have two winners with the same name, but from different parts of the country.
Mobile, Ala.’s The Wave had recently implemented a full Genfare Automated Fare Collection solution that included Fast Fare Fareboxes, the company’s Mobile Link ticketing application, and Genfare Link software. Once this infrastructure was in place, it made sense for them to bring some of the features from their fixed-route solution to their paratransit/mobility vehicles, which serve vulnerable populations and the organizations that help them.
The Wave then decided to make an investment in Open Link Validators to enable paratransit riders to pay their fares using the same mobile application and fare cards available on their buses.
The agency’s goal in adding the Open Link Validators was to eliminate the last remaining use of paper tickets.
“We have eliminated unnecessary trips to the transit center ticket window while increasing our rider capacity and satisfaction along the way,” explains Damon Dash, GM at The Wave. “We can now accommodate more life-sustaining mobility rides and have shortened wait times for customer service.”
By eliminating the need to take passengers to a separate ticketing window so they can pay for their trip, the agency is up to a 75% mobile app adoption rate, since riders can now validate their paratransit fares on the Open Link Validator.
“The Open Link Validator accepts contactless credit or debit cards, smart cards, mobile wallets, or agency-branded mobile app barcode tickets, expanding payment options while speeding boarding,” explains Daria van Engelen, chief revenue officer at Genfare. “It’s ideal for several use cases, including accepting digital fare media in buses with older fare boxes, validating fares in microtransit or paratransit vehicles, and rear-door boarding on buses.”
Designed for easy use and maintenance, it performs a self-test when powered up and monitors internal components while in operation. If external power is lost, a backup power source enables the transaction in progress to complete.
Fare structure changes, device configuration, and transaction reporting are available through integration with Genfare Link, Genfare’s cloud-hosted fare processing platform. Any errors or warnings are also transmitted via Ethernet or Wi-Fi to Genfare Link to notify maintenance staff.
Decreasing Administrative Burden
Genfare Link provides agencies with a single interface to configure and monitor their fare collection system across all modes of payment. This decreases the administrative burden associated with combining data from multiple systems, explains van Engelen.
A cloud-based interface allows the agency to work from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. The Genfare Link solution reduces the burden on agency IT teams by reducing the on-premises equipment they need to manage. It is modular and can be expanded as the agency wants to offer more payment options to its riders. It also provides the kind of functionality that has historically only been available to the largest agencies at a price point that is affordable for all agencies.
“Deployment time of Genfare mobility solutions varies based on the complexity of the solution being deployed for the agency, and their desired timeline,” says van Egelen. “[We] have rolled out solutions with new hardware and software solutions to support mobile, smart cards, and contactless credit cards in eight months. Simple solutions using just mobile ticketing can be rolled out in two.”
Dash says his advice for forging a successful partnership like the one between The Wave and Genfare is simple.
"Leverage the relationship with your provider, learn from what other agencies have already done, and decide which pieces of the providers’ solution work best for your implementation,” he says.
Adds van Egelen on the award and partnership with The Wave: “We are proud of The Wave team in Mobile. We have worked with them closely since 2020 to fully understand their vision and be their partner on a plan to make it happen. It’s been inspirational to be a part of that and see them methodically achieve goal after goal. Their equitable approach to improving their service through innovative fare collection, operational optimization, and customer friendliness is exemplary in the industry.”