afc & netc

Automated Fare Collection (AFC) & National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC): Driving Smart Mobility in India

According to a study by TERI, India’s urban population is expected to grow from 410 million in 2014 to 814 million by 2050.The report also stated that India will have seven megacities by 2030.

According to a study by TERI, India’s urban population is expected to grow from 410 million in 2014 to 814 million by 2050.The report also stated that India will have seven megacities by 2030. With so many citizens migrating to urban areas, the congestion on roads is bound to increase. Sadly, many Indian cities have made it to the global list of the most congested cities. As public transportation forms an integral part of any city, it is more important than ever for cities to adopt smart and sustainable solutions to avoid overburdening on resources.

Smart mobility solutions can improve the efficiency of the entire transportation system.It provides seamless commute between different modes of transport.With new-age technologies and solutions such as Internet of Things (IoT), Automatic Fare Collection (AFC), and cards such as National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), the public transportation system in India has made a significant stride towards a smart future. India has taken inspiration from countries such as Singapore to implement best-in-class technologies in metros, water jetties and other modes of rapid transit systems for ensuring a swift, eco-friendly and hassle-free commute experience.

AGS Transact Technologies fosters smart card-based travel by integrating Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) into leading travel infrastructure systems. The company successfully deployed and launched automated smart ticketing system at Punjab Bus Metro Society at Amritsar and an automated fare collection system at Kochi Metro Rail Limited at Kochi.

Let us understand various Smart Mobility Solutions that can potentially transform the mobility sector in India.

Automatic Fare Collection
Automatic Fare Collection(AFC) is a framework of hardware and software solutions for fare collection at entry and exit touch points at public transport networks such as metro trains, bus rapid transit system enabled buses and boats. This solution is instrumental in streamlining the fare collection process across the value chain. It makes public transportation more efficient, affordable and accessible to the public at large.

The integration of solutions such as QR codes, near-field communication, wallets etc. and implementation of interoperability has resulted in a rapid adoption of AFC solutions in India.

Modes of Fare Collection in an AFC System
1. QR Codes – Paper-less and paper-based
2. Contactless Tokens – Single journey or return journey
3. Mobility Cards – Closed-loop, semi-open loop, open-loop (interoperable prepaid cardssuch as NCMC Cards)
4. NFC ticketing(based on near-field technology)

National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC)
A robust toll collection system for national& State highways and high-density roadway systems, NETC is a paperless and cashless model based on a passive RFID technology that improves overall time and efficiency for consumers.It offers an interoperable toll payment solution for managing toll collection digitally across national & state highways. NPCI’s FASTag is the device through which all national& state highways across India accept digital payments at toll plazas.

With use of FASTagbeing mandated across highways in India, many commuters can now seamlessly and swiftly zip through toll plazas. As the RFID tag is scanned immediately and from a distance, the queuing time has reduced significantly. FASTag also streamlines the cash management process at toll plazas. Consequently, this will result in reduced fuel consumption and benefit the vehicle in terms of mileage.

Benefits of smart mobility solutions

1. Reduced cash-handling costs
The transitindustry in India has primarily been cash intensive. Hence, solutions like Automatic Fare Collection and National Electronic Toll Collection(NETC) ensure more efficient processes as the transactions are processed, tracked and reconciled digitally. This also brings in more transparency across the ticketing&toll collection process.

2. Data-driven initiatives
As all the transaction data is captured digitally, smart mobility solutions enable payment players, participating banks, metro rail, BRTS, national highways etc., to customise offerings forcustomers by the means of their commute history. For instance, metros can introducea discounted price for customers travelling during certain hours. It may also run a loyalty program for students or working professionals travelling daily.

3. Smarter & swifter checkouts
The most evident benefit of these mobility solutions is ensuring smarter and swifter checkouts. With urbanised population taking mass transit modes on a daily basis, AFC helps in reducing crowding at entry or exit checkouts. Paper-less solutions such as National Common Mobility Card and QR Codes enable commuters to exit and enter stations by simply tapping or scanning a code.Similarly, FASTag ensures that the queues at toll plazas are reduced and congestion is minimised.

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