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Ticket Validation Research Project Report

Introduction
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The subject of research was to study the processes and methods for ticket
validation in the rail industry. Public transport operates what is termed as open
and closed system to regulate passenger travel. Closed system makes use of
electronic barriers to verify passenger’s tickets for greater control of correctly
ticketed passengers. Where there is a combination of closed and open system,
this partial closed system influences the fare evasion on the network. Every
dollar that is cheated out of at the fare box has to be made up in taxes or by cuts
to service. None of this is acceptable to the public and to transit customers.
Research also discovered that passengers who shouldn't be using discounted
tickets were doing so without getting caught. Passengers with wrong tickets or no
tickets and pass for multiple days weren't getting their tickets validated.

TRI-RAIL TRYING TO CURB CHEATERS Published: Friday, January 23,


1998, Sun-Sentinel.
What they discovered is this: Existing fare policies are inconsistent and too
lenient; riders
perceive enforcement as weak and are more apt to risk cheating; conductors are
viewed
as having no authority; and random ticket checking encourages cheating. ``It was
problem-plagued,'' Jester said. Researchers also discovered that passengers
who shouldn't be using discounted tickets were doing so without getting caught.
Others with passes for multiple days weren't getting their tickets validated. ``We
have 42 percent of our riders buying discount tickets and the industry wide
average is 10 percent,'' said Linda Bohlinger, executive director of Tri-Rail.
``There was a lack of ticket inspection causing widespread fraud,'' Jester said. ``It
tends to not keep honest riders honest if they perceive the system being unfair.
To curb cheating, the study suggests the following:
* Riders caught with no ticket or the wrong ticket receives $50 citations. Tri-Rail
officials will aim for a minimum 40 percent rider/check ratio, Jester said.
* More Wackenhut security guards will ride on the commuter trains to check
tickets with new hand held ticket checking machines. Jester said the
estimated cost of adding six Wackenhut guards and two clerks is $238,872.
According to the 2 1/2-month review of the ticketing system, Tri-Rail is losing
$500,000 to $600,000 annually from illegal rides, or 10 to 12 percent of its annual
fares, Jester said.
Source - The Federal Transit Administration - FTA reports

Independent surveys have shown that ticketing revenue may be increased by as


much as 20% at stations where automatic ticket gates are installed. This does
not include the additional ticket sales at other stations where the gated station is
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the destination. Therefore, the introduction of automatic ticket gates has


dramatically increased revenue from ticket sales.
In this rapidly changing railway environment where passenger volumes have
increasing substantially each year the reduction of ticket fraud has become an
important issue for Train Operating Companies. Automatic ticket gates have
been shown to pay for themselves through increased revenue accruing from
reduced fare evasion.
Not only does the installation of automatic ticket gates mean that more revenue
is collected, the gates have other additional benefits such as increased
passenger safety on platforms, significant reduction in vandalism within the
station leading to savings in maintenance and repair costs, and the provision of
accurate passenger movement data to enable the Train Operating Companies to
more accurately schedule services to meet customer demand.
In addition, the management information obtained from the automatic ticket gates
enables operators to monitor equipment activity, set control parameters for the
equipment remotely, centralise activity data collection and provide statistical
analysis of the activity data such as passenger throughput, types of tickets used,
origin, destination, routes and geographical data.
Source - www.ascom.com - Copyright © 2000 Ascom

In addition to formal surveillance of the system, station attendants have an


important role in contributing to Metro's safe environment. Metro stations are
staffed during all hours of rail operation, increasing employee surveillance and
thus the risk of apprehension. Attendants are positioned at kiosks at the
entrances to the platforms to provide assistance to riders and keep an eye on
potential fare evaders, who do not validate tickets. Metro's automated fare
collection system is designed to reject counterfeit slugs and bills and precludes
the use of one fare card by several passengers in succession, increasing the
risks of apprehension for fare evasion.
Source - National Institute of Justice - Presented to the 3rd International CPTED Conference, Washington, DC. 1998

The STIB has published the results of its 2000 campaign against fare evasion.
Last year, ticket validation has been increased by more than 40 % (over one
Million passengers) with the introduction of third generation electronic hand held
validation devices. There have been 65 % more fines than the year before,
yielding a revenue of 85,3 million Belgian francs or 2,11 million euros (+ 35,2 %).
The number of tickets sold has also risen as a consequence of the increased
number of controls
source : Le Soir, January 11th 2001

The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) reminded the public that in


order to curb fare evasion the surcharge for East Rail would be revised with
effect from 1 August 2000. KCR East Rail has been putting many efforts to curb
fare evasion. Since the middle of 1999, apart from stepping up ticket
inspection at stations, we have also organised an extensive publicity campaign
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Ticket Validation Research Project Report

to remind passengers on the use of right tickets. In the first half of this year,
there were 3594 cases of fare evasion, which represented a 50 % decrease
when compared to the 7059 cases of the first half of2000.
Source -www.kcrc.com/eng/news/press/ER/e000730a.htm - Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC)

SkyTrain Attendants normally conduct an average of 700,000 fare checks per


month, about one passenger in six is checked. TransLink’s Special
Constables back them up with the ability to issue tickets to passengers who fail
to show proper proof of payment. Constables issued over 22,000 tickets last year
alone. "Barrier Free Proof of Payment" fare collection system has always been
an issue. In part this concern has been based on the perception that the fare
collection system is an "honour system" and passengers are never, or seldom
checked to ensure that they have paid the appropriate fare.
Source - rancy@bellsouth.net - TransLink Cracks Down on SkyTrain Fare Evasion

First North Western carries out regular ticket checks to counteract fare evasion,
which Philip also finds a useful way of building a rapport with customers. "It’s a
two way process — it’s not just a case of us telling them to buy a ticket, if they
have feedback to give us, I’m happy to hear it."
Source - www.firstnorthwestern.co.uk/news/press%20releases/0106jun/ 040601.htm

The application of self-service, barrier-free, fare collection-- hereafter referred to


as proof of payment (POP). This will assist planning, financing, enforcing, and
operating POP fare collection in a transit system. The focus is on use of POP
systems to light rail transit, commuter rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit, for
both new starts and existing systems. Enforcement - Fare inspection (on-vehicle
and off-vehicle inspection); the proposed use of uniformed Municipal Railway
inspectors to enforce Proof-of-Payment regulations will enhance safety on the
LRV system. The use of these inspectors to perform Proof-of-Payment
inspections will allow the SFPD to concentrate on preventing crime and
protecting operator and public safety on the transit system.

Source - : http://www4.trb.org/trb/crp.nsf/All+Projects/TCRP+A-24

UTA is using a system, which is very different from that used on the busses. You
ride TRAX using the honor system. You may go weeks without your pass being
checked, or you may be checked frequently. UTA officers check 25% of the
total ridership each day and less than one percent of riders were issued citations
because of fare evasion.
Source - U.S. SENATOR BOB BENNETT - GOVERNOR MICHAEL O. LEAVITT- http://www.utabus.com/news/ordinance

Sounder Commuter Rail adopted a Sound Transit policy Enforcing fare


inspections, to reduce fare evasion with a schedule of fines. To discourage fare
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evasion, passengers on Sounder trains must show a valid ticket or pass when
asked by Sound Transit fare inspectors. Passengers who do not will be subject to
a citation and fine. This type of system simplifies boarding the train and
eliminates turnstiles or operators who collect fares.
Source -Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104, 1.800.201.4900, main@soundtransit.org

Huge blitz on fare dodgers - A major check on fare cheats throughout next
week is expected, ticket checks will be carried out all major railway stations.
Fare dodging hits record high - Fare evasion at five of London's busiest
mainline rail stations is costing £14 million a year - far higher than first thought,
new figures reveal today
Source – InfoTransport – News March 2001- last updated 07/2001 Copyright © 2001 zamano

The Octopus card is a smart-card based ticketing system


that provides more convenience, reliability, flexibility and
security. The card which has been jointly developed by
KCRC and other transport operators, can be used on all of
the following Hong Kong public transport systems: Two
Types of Octopus

There are two types of Octopus card: anonymous Octopus card and a
personalised version, which includes an individual passenger's personal
information and photograph
With a personalised Octopus card, you can have your name printed on the card
and personal data recorded in a computer chip embedded in the card. This type
of card is not transferable. Anonymous Card - Anonymous cardholders do not
enjoy a bonus scheme and there is no protection against card loss.
Cost of first purchase - The cost includes a refundable deposit of HK$50 to cover
the cost of the card and to provide for a negative value of up to $35. Passengers
can either reload their Octopus cards at Light Rail Customer Services Centres or
at the Add Value Machines locating at stops. The remaining value of individual's
Octopus card will be shown at Exit Processor after completion of each journey.
Octopus Enquiry Processors are also available at all stops to allow passengers
checking their latest transactions and the remaining balance.
How Octopus Works

Before Boarding

Touch the Octopus card to the orange-coloured Entry Processor.

To show successful validation, the Entry Processor will:


i.
deduct the maximum fare from the Octopus card;

ii.
display a green light;
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iii.
display the message "permit to travel"

iv.
emit a single short audible tone.

If the Octopus card is found to be invalid, a red light and a reject message will
be displayed and a longer-high pitched tone emitted. If this occurs, the
passenger is required to purchase a single ride ticket from a TVM or seek
assistance from a nearby Customer Services Centre.
After Alighting
Touch the Octopus card to the green-coloured Exit Processor.

To show successful validation, the Exit Processor will:


i.
rebate the difference to the Octopus card after deducting the exact fare;

ii.
display a green light;

iii.
display the exact fare deducted and the Octopus card's remaining value

iv.
emit a dual audible tone.

If the Octopus card is found to be invalid e.g. a


passenger has not presented the Octopus card to the
Entry Processor, a red light and a reject message will be
displayed and a long, high-pitched tone emitted. The
passenger may seek assistance from a nearby
Customer Services Centre or call the Light Rail Hotline
on (852)2468-7788.
Note:
Passengers who do not touch the Octopus Card to the Exit Processor will be
automatically charged with the maximum fare by the Octopus system.

Source – KCRC - Hong Kong public transport systems

By automating transactions - tickets sales and validation - their networks have


streamlined traffic while reducing the incidence of fraud and simultaneously
improving service quality and profitability. Ascom Monétel designs,
manufactures and installed automatic fare collection systems for public transport
networks : automatic ticket vending machines, booking office machines, ticket
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validators, access gates, on-board control units, operating data collection and
processing systems. The company also proposes multi-modal and multi-service
payment systems (bus-metro-train-car parking) and, in Valence, is currently
implementing one of the first 'full-scale" field experiments of a contactless
ticketing system (remote validation of transport tickets).

Source -

BARRIER FREE SYSTEM

To reduce the hassles of commuting on mass transit systems ACE has effectively
implemented the "barrier-free" system of transportation. Passengers purchase
tickets in advance and "validate" each trip in an electronic validation machine
conveniently positioned at each ACE boarding platform. After boarding the train,
passengers are required to display their validated ticket in a plastic protective
sleeve provided by ACE.
Train attendants and fare enforcement officers check the tickets for
validation as they greet the passengers between stations. In Alameda and
Santa Clara Counties.
Amtrak and Motorola are equipping train conductors with handheld ticket
checking devices (aka gizmos=) for fare collection. The devices will relay
ridership and revenue data to Amtrak's database; this will let conductors sell
tickets for cancelled reservations or re-sell the seats of ticketed passengers who
do not board the train. The system will also make it easier for Amtrak to find out
who is on a train in the event of an accident. (June 25th)
Resource -www.eriksrailnews.com/archive/june.html - Amtrak and Motorola

The system includes a central computer, station computers, automatic ticket


machines, fare gates, booking office machines, high-speed encoders and hand
held ticket validating devices. The system uses magnetically encoded plastic
tickets, and there are variations issued for single journeys and which are re-
useable for daily commuting, and can function as a stored value device for
repeated use.
GUANGZHOU METRO - LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM, CHINA

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Background
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The major security issue facing the public transit system is the problem of fare evasion
and how to control it. The revenue the revenue loss to fare evasion can quickly mount
into millions of dollars and seriously affect a transit system-operating budget.
Yet fare evasion is similar to much everyday crime: the loss incurred from any individual
case is quite minor: only the aggregate effect is important. A traditional law enforcement
approach stressing investigation and prosecution of individual fare evaders is not a cost
effective control strategy. A situational crime prevention strategies that looks at the key
characteristics of specific problems and uses prevention techniques designed to address
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those to address those characteristics is much more likely to produce useful aggregate
reduction in the problem.

Public transit system rarely show a profit and many rely upon government subsidiaries
for their continued operation. One costly drain on the resources plaguing the system on
City Rail is 4.5 % (in March 2000 survey). With an estimated cost of 27.3 million, to the
authority.

The best way to protect this revenue is to dynamically lift the inspection function of
checking tickets of passengers entering the exiting system. Most city rail station tickets
are not validated for passengers entering or existing the stations. In absence of Revenue
Protection officers validating the tickets, an unticketed passenger seeking to enter or exit
the system may, therefore avoid the payment of the fare. This includes the misuse of
concession travel entitlement, which is a form of fare evasion. Improper use of
concession ticket result therefore in increased subsidies from the government. As a
consequence taxpayers money could be saved if the abuse of concession entitlement can
be reduced by ticket validation.

Fare evasion in revenue loss which impacts the level of the:

1. Government taxpayer subsidy to fund public transport.


2. Level of fares – levied on paying passengers.

City rail operates the most open system in Sydney with electronic barrier at 45 of 306
stations. Travel without purchasing a valid ticket is possible between the remaining 261
stations.
Ticket validation is important as the greater Toronto Transit authority in a paper
published in 1999 titled “ Fighting fare evasion cost effectively ”quotes statistics
(determined from a range of international sources) indicating that:

• 10% of the population is fundamentally honest.


• 5 % is fundamentally dishonest.
• Remaining 85% represent a floating scale of honesty, which is often based on or
controlled by factors such as opportunity and expectations of consequences.

We are of opinion that two expectations need to be created in the minds of public
transport users namely:
• Payment is required for transportation
• And – there are consequences for not making a payment.
That bulk of population who travel on public transport require regular positive
reinforcements.

Our research has shown that, there are three classes of behaviours in passengers:
Group 1. Are honest people who have failed to pay the correct fare by mistake.
Group2. Are generally honest people, who over a period of time have noticed an
opportunity exists to cheat, and if given a chance will take it.
Group 3> Are true fare evaders who will attempt to escape at the sight of authority.
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City rail does not have turnstiles at 251 stations; the open system requires the onus on the
customers to be in possession of valid ticket, in designated paid areas, and while
travelling on trains. Revenue protection staff conducts continuous random ticket checks
manually throughout the system.
The effectiveness of electronic ticket validating machines is governed by the adequacy of
supervision given by the CityRail station staff to the wide gates. (The wide gates are for
the use of passengers with baggage, passengers in wheel chairs etc.). Data and audit done
by outside agencies for fare evasion indicates that the wide gates continue to be used as
an additional point of entry and exit for unencumbered passengers.
Passengers who enter the rail system without a ticket (at an ungated station) can exit the
system at a gated station subject to the direction by staff to purchase a ticket at the nearest
ticket-selling outlet. Presently the CityRail station staff is required to direct those
passengers without a valid ticket to purchase a ticket. Unticketed passengers so directed
comprise of those attempting to enter ticketed area prior to a journey or leave the ticketed
area, at the end of the journey. A passenger once passed the wide gates may ignore the
standard direction, or purchase a ticket of lesser value not related to the journey. All
observant passengers and habitual fare evaders who seek to avoid payment of fare will be
encouraged by the current arrangement.

Methodology
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INTERVIEWS WITH INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS

Interviews are a good way of obtaining information from individuals about their
attitudes, opinions and behaviours1. In State Rail there is an opinion building
about changing the method of ticket validation, specially due to large number of
1
Lecture Notes - Applied Integrative Project of Program in Applied Business, 2001
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ungated stations and validation of tickets on train therefore it is necessary to


know our internal key stakeholders' attitudes and opinions. Therefore face to face
interviews, focus group method, and telephone interview techniques were
adopted in the research process. We obtained information required through the
interviews with the Management of Revenue Protection, Staff working at various
geographical locations in the revenue protection units. Issues arising through the
focus group were clarified by telephone interviews through depth of the questions
effectively. (see Appendix 3 - Interview Questions)

The information we required from the interviews were the revenue protection
management's opinion regarding current ticket checking methods, their opnion
on alternative methods of ticket validation and their advantages and
disadvantages.

The Interviews were conducted through the following steps

a. Set the objectives and decide on question content


Present methods of ticket validation
Their opinion or concerns
Alternative methods of ticket validation
Their opinion on advantages and disadvantages
Cost effectiveness of various alternative methods of ticket validation

b. Decide on question sequence


• One member to conduct and others would take notes
• Organise and schedule
• Make appointment with all revenue protection staff and management

Revenue Protection key managers participated in the interviews

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Interviewees attended:
 Ian Moir Manager Protective Services
 John Elleray Manager Revenue Protection
 Mark K. Operation Co-Ordinator

Revenue Protection key managers participated in Face to Face interviews


Interviewees attended:
 Ian Moir Manager Protective Services
 John Elleray Manager Revenue Protection
 Mark K. Operation Coordinator
(Please Refer Appendix ox)

Telephone and one to one interviews for structured questionnaire.

The opinion of staff was taken for generating Primary Data, for present and
alternative ticket validation methods using interview techniques. In “The
Interview Questionnaire” for structured interview Telephone Interviews was done
with 30 Revenue Protection staff. And 17participatants were interviewed one to
one.

The interviews involved forty-seven (47) members of revenue protection staff


from various units. The interviews were conducted through number of methods
including telephone interviews and one to one interview technique. All members
of the syndicate facilitated this study to achieve highest results.

(Please Refer Appendix xxx)

FOCUS GROUP

The focus group was conducted to generate primary data, in relation to the
effectiveness of present ticket validation system and alternative methods.
Representatives sample of revenue protection staff was taken, who have sound
knowledge of current system and alternative systems that may be adopted. The
focus group was carried out by the independent member of the group Sue
Strudwwick through the project sponsor John Elleray. The group was constructed
from representative areas from six revenue protection units and from various
position levels. The group was made up of 8 (eight) members.

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(Please refer appendix ox)

Data analysis techniques used in the process

Interview results were analysed and concluded through statistics to make


inferences on stakeholders’ points of views (presented in the Results
section)

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