New fare boxes aboard buses
Improving control of fare revenues
Montreal, 12 December 2005 - Earlier this week, the Société de transport de Montréal began installing new electronic fare boxes aboard buses. According to Director General Pierre Vandelac, “By the end of 2006, our 1600 buses will be equipped with new fare boxes that automatically count cash fares and, by means of coloured lights and beeping sounds, validate a transit user’s access. Thanks to this modern, secure equipment, drivers will have the tools to control fares more efficiently and the STM will have improved control over its revenues. We estimate that $3.8 million in fare revenue can be recovered in 2006, and $6.6 million in subsequent years”.
To ensure the implementation goes smoothly and enable drivers to become proficient with the new technology, the STM has chosen to gradually replace the fare boxes, one bus depot at a time. Buses at the Mont-Royal garage, usually assigned to the 11, 14, 27, 45, 47, 51, 67, 97, 144, 357, 359, 368, 410 and
430 routes, will be the first to receive them, followed by buses at Frontenac,
Saint-Denis, Legendre, Anjou, Saint-Laurent and LaSalle. So far, drivers who have been trained on the new equipment are positive about it and feel it will make their work easier.
Slight changes for 16% of transit users
Based on tests carried out last summer with groups of transit users, operating the new fare boxes did not raise any problems or cause any slowdowns at the bus’ entrance. The indications on the fare box are clear, and passengers quickly figured out where to insert their tickets and change.
Given that the majority of transit users (84%) purchase weekly or monthly passes, this modification affects only those who pay in cash or with tickets. They will have to change their habits slightly, because the new fare boxes are equipped with two different slots, one specifically for tickets, the other for coins. Like vending machines, the fare boxes do not accept pennies or paper currency, and coins must be put in one at a time. If the full fare is not paid, an electronic signal will be heard and a visual message will be displayed, which should help drivers carry out their work.
Introducing the smart card in spring 2008
In spring 2008, the STM will begin introducing smart cards in the transit system and automatic card readers will be added to the new fare boxes. These devices will issue a receipt validating the access of cardholders.
Mr. Vandelac again emphasized how important it is for the STM to acquire more secure and more reliable fare control equipment. “ The fare boxes currently used in our buses are almost one hundred years old. The needs of transit users have evolved and to meet them, we must have flexible, high-performance systems.”
Finally, the new fare boxes and related equipment were purchased following a call for tenders, through which GFI Genfare -- represented in Canada by Garival, whose offices are located in Laval – obtained the contract valued at $45 M. The STM assumes all financing for this project, as part of its 2006-2008 Capital Spending Plan (PTI).