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17-Sep-2019 14:04:41
by James Gooch

Mass Transit Survey Reveals Bespoke AFC Systems are Holding Agencies Back with 43% over a Decade Old and 59% ‘Hard’ or ‘Very Hard’ to Update

64% of agencies looking to implement Account-Based Ticketing, but struggling with bespoke technology which is slow to deploy, costly to maintain and has limited upgrade path 


New York, USA - 17th September 2019 - Masabi, the leader in fare payments as a service for public transit, today published its Transit Agency Research Report: The State of Fare Collection. The report, based on a survey of over 60 transit agencies predominantly based in North America, sheds light on their “Core” Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) systems (the primary back-office solution or sales channel with the highest percentage of sales) and the impact these systems are having on their ability to innovate with new fare collection and ticketing technologies.


The survey reveals some of the key challenges agencies are facing when it comes to providing fare collection services to riders. These bespoke systems are often in place for significant amounts of time, are hard to update and expensive to install and maintain. The full research is available in a new eBook Transit Agency Research Report: The State of Fare Collection.


Key Findings Include:

  • 43% of agencies have been operating their “Core” Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) systems for over a decade
  • Most “Core” Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) systems take one to two years to go live (30%), with a further 11% taking over three years
  • 59% of agencies stated adding new features to their system was either ‘Hard’ or ‘Very Hard’ with updates occasionally or hardly ever happening
  • 41% of agencies declared that they are paying over 10% of their fare revenue to run their AFC system
  • 62% of agencies have either deployed or will deploy an Account-Based Ticketing system for their riders 
  • 24% of agencies are looking into deploying Account-Based MaaS while 22% are interested in Practical MaaS 


The transit ticketing industry is changing as more agencies move away from physically issuing tickets to using mobile phones and contactless bank cards, allowing riders to simply tap and ride to travel. While the research found that Account-Based Ticketing and extending services to seamlessly connect public and private transit options to enable full first/last mile journeys is a focus for most transit agencies, bespoke ‘core’ AFC systems are leaving many transit agencies unable to keep up with the pace of technology change. 


“The results of the survey are both shocking and unsurprising,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “For too long transit agencies have been denied access to systems that can keep up with technology in a cost-effective way and have been forced to invest in costly and bespoke AFC system. This has lead to limited innovation with some agencies able to purchase the latest systems but leaving many underserved and left with systems that are outdated. This isn’t fair to passengers; public transit riders and agencies deserve better. The message from this research is clear – it’s time for a Fare Payments revolution, so people in any town or city have the opportunity to enjoy the best journey experience from their transit providers.”


Fare Payments-as-a-Service (FPaaS) offers a better approach to underserved agencies wanting to provide the latest fare payment services for passengers. Instead of needing to run a bespoke project that is designed, built, operated and maintained exclusively for and by the agency, public transit operators can instead sign up to a Fare Payments platform and pay for services on a pay-as-you-go/subscription basis. This enables agencies to deliver the latest ‘tap and ride’ innovations to riders extremely quickly and grow capabilities as they get released onto the platform. 


To support the research, the company today published the eBook, A Guide to Fare Payments-as-a-Service. The eBook provides a comprehensive guide for transit agencies to benefit from the FPaaS model. With its MaaS-enabled, open API architecture, FPaaS enables agencies to deliver account-based tap and ride experiences to their passengers, safe in the knowledge that their Fare Payments platform is not only constantly updated with the latest enhancements but also has a future-proof roadmap. This allows them to concentrate on what they do best - providing safe, reliable and convenient journeys for riders.


For more information on Fare Payments-as-a-Service, Masabi’s Guide to Fare Payments-as-a-Service for Public Transit can be downloaded from here.


The full research is available in a new eBook Transit Agency Research Report: The State of Fare Collection.

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About the Research

Masabi issued a survey in the late summer/fall of 2019 to professionals working for transit agencies and operators around the globe, with a particular focus on fare collection teams, in order to better understand the fare collection market, the challenges agencies and operators are facing, and gain an understanding of where the fare collection industry is heading. 

The survey had a specific focus on agencies’ and operators’ “Core” Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system (the primary back-office solution or sales channel with the highest percentage of sales) and was designed to try and understand some of the fundamental characteristics of these systems.

The survey was completed by 63 transit professionals from 60 agencies and operators. The majority of respondents were from agencies based in North America and drawn from a cross-section of agencies and operators of all sizes. 


About Masabi

Masabi is bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service to public transit agencies of all sizes around the globe. Through our Fare Payments platform, Justride, agencies receive the latest innovations quickly, using a platform which is constantly updating and adding new features. This not only improves the journey experience for passengers but also helps agencies keep up with the pace of technology change while reducing the total cost of fare collection, meaning more money can be put back into running transit services.

With over sixty clients of all sizes across ten countries, Justride is the world's leading Fare Payments platform, serving the largest transit agency in the US to local bus operators.

Masabi has offices in New York, Denver, London and Cluj, and investors include Mastercard and Keolis. For more information, visit


Written by James Gooch

Head of Marketing at Masabi.
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