Public Transit Hardware & Customer Service Desk, by Modeshift

Public Transit Hardware & Customer Service Desk, by Modeshift

Hardware – every transit agency executive’s nightmare. Along with Excel spreadsheets, of course. What if we took this burden off your shoulders? Modeshift’s team can help transit agencies reuse their legacy equipment or assist with the purchase of new hardware. Our account-based fare collection system is completely hardware-agnostic and media-agnostic which means we can work with (almost) any type of public transit hardware – no strings attached!

In this article:

How does it work?

Legacy system in place: we can’t make your legacy system look shiny and new, but we can probably make it work with Modeshift Fare Collection. Contact us today so we can figure out together what your agency’s needs are and whether your existing hardware can accommodate Modeshift’s mobility platform.

Starting from scratch? No matter if you want to scrap your existing equipment or don’t have it in the first place, we can assist you in the purchase of validators, ticket vending machines, and other equipment necessary for transit operations.

Public transit hardware: validations

Modeshift Fare Collection is hardware-agnostic and uses standard equipment – no proprietary devices. Even though we are flexible and the system does not rely on specific hardware, we recommend a few specific types of equipment with which we’ve had an excellent experience.

Classic onboard devices (validators)

These validators work with mobile tickets, smart cards, paper tickets, and even “bring your own card” options, acting as a farebox with built-in GPS + 4G (LTE) connectivity. To ensure seamless operation, they also work in offline mode when the bus gets into an area with spotty coverage – the device still operates and stores the information (validations) locally. Once the device reconnects, the information is uploaded to the cloud and becomes accessible through the back office.

In this video you can see the quick and easy installation process of these validators:

Handheld devices

Handheld devices are used mainly on DRT vehicles and paratransit. They are not fixed to a specific location inside the vehicles and are easily accessible to riders with specific needs. The driver uses the device to scan their QR code, NFC card, or wearable. The device also works as a vehicle locator with its built-in highly accurate GPS module. Handheld devices are connected to the cloud and the back office via a 4G (LTE) connection and can operate offline just like normal onboard validators. In some cases (with a specific configuration of the system) the device can work as a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT for CAD/AVL) with all information shown on the display.

Inspector devices

Inspector devices are very similar to handheld devices. Our Fare Inspector App can also be installed on any stock Android phone with NFC.

Mobile data terminal

Mobile data terminals are the perfect transit solution for efficient fleet management. One tablet does it all:

  • Highly accurate vehicle location with integrated GPS
  • High brightness touch display (great for dashboard mount)
  • NFC module and QR code reader for fare collection
  • 4G (LTE) connectivity
  • Variety of interfaces for onboard system integrations (APC, digital signage)

Customer Service Desk: our solution for 3rd party resellers

Is there a way to expand ticket sales via different channels? Yes, of course. Riders need easy access to tickets and other fare media, and we’ve made it easy for them to get it. Enter the Modeshift Customer Service Desk – a simple and intuitive mobile POS terminal that can be accessed from a variety of devices and can be used for ticket sales and account management, including reloading of accounts.

Any coffee shop, gas station, grocery store, or newsstand can become a reseller, expanding the sales network of your agency and bringing public transit closer to riders. They can opt to buy single-ride tickets or recharge their accounts with confidence at any authorized location around town. This helps take money-handling responsibilities off the bus driver.

  • Great fit for a variety of locations: coffee shops, supermarkets, newsstands, etc.
  • Can be used by the agency on special events as a handheld device or an improvised customer service window (for example, at the local fair or the weekend farmers market).
  • 3rd party usage is included with a configuration for the reseller’s network, daily caps, prepaid tickets, etc.

The Customer Service Desk is a quick and easy way to sell fare products to both users with accounts and those who don’t travel often and need one-off tickets. Modeshift can provide the equipment itself, as well as integration and support for all operations.

There are two types of customer service desks – modular solutions and all-in-one solutions:

Modular solutions are a flexible solution that fits a variety of usage scenarios. These are the available modules that can be added to the setup:

  • Computer
  • NFC reader for issuing/reading NFC cards
  • Receipt printer – for issuing single ride/QR tickets and receipts
  • Card payments terminal
  • Card printer for personalization (Evolys)
  • Webcam/Scanner for taking/scanning pictures of the rider in order to personalize the account
  • Cash drawer

All-in-one solutions provide different setups for different needs. Historically, our clients prefer to keep things simple and choose a straightforward all-in-one solution with NFC card and receipt printer. A cash drawer can also be added to the device. This setup covers 99% of the needs we’re seeing on the market!

Mobile Customer Service Desk

Our mobile Customer Service Desk device, along with the cashbox inside public transit vehicles, can effectively substitute the traditional farebox. Modular systems require less support and maintenance resources and can decrease operational costs while keeping cash as a payment method.

  • Light and small: fits next to the driver without taking up a lot of space
  • Easy to use: provides great user experience to drivers (big buttons, simple flow with minimized number of steps)
  • Gets things done quickly so that riders don’t have to wait for service
  • Mainly targeted at riders who need single-ride or anonymous passes, such as tourists, people who don’t use public transit regularly, cash-only riders, etc. (there are no extra verifications, approvals). Riders who are eligible for reduced-price fares will need to go to the regular service windows as specified by the agency.

NFC smart cards

Modeshift Fare Collection can work with a variety of card types available on the US market, but we highly recommend the MIFARE Classic 1k due to its ease of procurement and low cost. This type of card has built-in anti-collision algorithms to ensure multiple cards can work within close proximity without any interference. Furthermore, it is one of the most commonly used smart cards in the market with many different software providers customizing how the card is used through proprietary software on readers and back-office systems.

The best of public transit hardware is headed your way

Modeshift Fare Collection and its modules can significantly improve the performance of public transit in your city. No matter if you decide to keep using your legacy equipment or invest in new equipment, we will support your operations to deliver an amazing experience every time riders board a public transit vehicle. Contact us today and let’s talk about your city!