Common standards need to be put in place before a universal fare payment system can be created

26 april 2017

"Options for the creation of a universal fare payment system (UPS) are based on territorial divisions resulting from a large degree of independence in the regions with regards to making decisions about the organization of public transport in the cities and the fare policies in each specific region," Head of the Department for Information Technologies of the Analytical Center Alexander Malakhov said, opening a round-table on the scenarios for the creation of a universal system for paying fares on public transport.

According to Mr. Malakhov there are 3 options for how development in this area can proceed. "The first involves creation in each region of an independent universal fare payment system operator with its own organizational structure but with all such operators working on the basis of synchronized regulations and standards," the expert said. "Option number two envisions a closer integration and the creation of a national wide universal fare payment system operator that provides services to regional operators. Under this scenario, the regional governments would develop their own regulations, taking into account the specific features of their regions as well as the system requirements." As for the third scenario, it calls for the creation of a centralized IT service that offers all the basic fare payment functions as well as such additional functions as notifying passengers of time tables and managing regional public transport systems, while all the regulations and laws governing the system are to be standardized at all levels, Mr. Malakhov noted.

Samuil Gorelik, a professor at the State Information Systems Management Department of the National Research Institute of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, talked about possible scenarios for the implementation of a universal fare payment system for municipal public transport systems as well as long-distance passenger transport systems. "A universal fare payment system is part of the passenger transport management system that has several functions: collecting fares from passengers for rides and for the carriage of luggage, registration of passengers that have special discounts and benefits on public transport, generating reports and analytical data on passenger flow statistics, notifying passengers about fares, time tables, routes and any changes," the specialist said.

The experts paid special attention to the available options for managing and implementing a fare policy, registration of trips by passengers entitled to special discounts and benefits and various options of cashless payment of fares through mobile applications or by calling a special dedicated number or via a mobile application that automatically makes the payment when predefined trajectories match and a public transport card is produced.

During the discussion the specialists noted that it was necessary to give people public transport that is comfortable and easy to use. "All the public transport servicing functionality we have in the market today is offered in isolated bits and pieces, instead we need an integrated approach to more efficiently employ available technologies," said Yuri Ryabikov, CEO of City Card LLC. Our goal is to integrate all services and set common standards for the entire country, the expert believes.

The event was held by the Analytical Center in conjunction with the United Nations Development Program.