All-in-one Smart Card System For Public Transport Made Possible By A Centralized Refund Scheme
Free (open access)
Contactless smart cards provide a new medium for paying transport fares. All transport operators in a city will expect to share a single smart card. To fulfill that expectation and reap the many resultant benefits, we must first solve two problems. One is the treatment of discount tickets and the other is the treatment of premiums. The first practical smart card in Japan offers a season ticket in addition to a purse. However, it doesn’t meet the requirements for use by multiple railway and bus systems. Smart card can pay a fare after we finish a trip, rather than in advance, as is the custom for conventional tickets. This difference is much more significant than it may initially appear. If we can settle the account represented by a discount ticket when it becomes void, we will have more flexibility and will be able to handle more complex joint fare structures. Some operators give premiums and others don’t. Therefore, we cannot always add all the value paid by the customer in the same purse. Premiums have to be valid only to the appropriate, issuing carriers. The use of multiple premiums (including zero) is a barrier to smart card integration. However, operators could award premiums after they confirm that the customer has fulfilled the necessary condition of use. We believe that a scheme to perform accounting after the fact and issue refunds will solve the two problems cited above.