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FAREness: mitigating connect card loading discrepencies

a fare credit system for due process of connect card loaded value disputes and quick-turn appeal processing

Photo of Nahom Beyene
3 5

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"Travelers should feel respected and waiting and travel should be a dignified experience."

This solution proposes that disputes at the fare box of Port Authority buses can be handled in a much more pleasant and rapid interaction between the driver and rider, with dignity and respect.

The technology suite is a stand alone companion to the fare box that provides the driver with a rapid resolution tool when riders claim that their connect card balance is in error. First the driver offers to use the FAREness system for a scan of the connect card and head shot picture of the rider to be captured and logged for the Port Authority of Allegheny County Customer Service Center. 

The system will levy a fare+fine against the associated card number scanned in. A rider is then allowed a 72 hr dispute window to have the fare+fine waved if their connect card balance was incorrectly set to report as "insufficient funds"

The experience leads to less debate surrounding whether riders are attempting to get a free ride or if the system has failed them. More importantly, the risk of a rider being dismissed from the bus for insufficient funds is greatly reduced in the events where system failures lead to errors at the fare box and the lack of transportation bares excessive penalties to riders, including implications to employment, greater financial burden to secure alternative means of transportation, and secondary financial penalties due to late arrival to their destination.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

In the Port Authority Bus: The users are a driver and the rider presenting a connect card for fare payment In the Port Authority of Allegheny County Customer Service Center: The users are the customer service representative and a rider who has elected to use the FAREness system for dispute of loaded card balance Online: The users are the Connect Card Portal and the rider who has elected to use the FAREness system for disputed fare payment

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Navity is a startup company still seeking to build a team. The founder is a designer and developer of technologies to capture and sense on-road interventions by driving instructors from drivers ed and driver rehabilitation programs. Relationships are in place to partner with local software development firms (i.e. NuRelm and True Fit) in order to prototype the back end of the FAREness system provided device selection and procurement by the founder of Navity.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $75,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

The FAREness system is a payment service for dispute resolution and system disruption recovery for the Connect Card system. The fees from dismissed disputes present a pathway for revenue generation and potential sustainment of a profitable service to the Port Authority by Navity. The pilot would involve a planning meeting with Anthony Trona (Director Purch and Mtrls Management) and other invited stakeholders to provide scope and prioritization of pilot demonstration demands. We will also hold a second meeting to seek representation from bus drivers associated with buses/routes identified for prospective piloting of the FAREness system.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

There are three core measurement targets for the pilot 1. Port Authority operational efficiency and integration success - these measures will assess the suitability of the FAREness system to supplement the Connect Card system based on feedback from customer service representatives, their management, and the IT support team 2. Bus driver user experience and risk management - these measures will assess the functional fit of the FAREness system into the bus driver workflow, rider service/relationship support, and safety concerns. 3. FAREness system cost coverage analysis - these financial modeling assessments will explore various avenues for the Port Authority to adopt the cost of service provision or Navity to take on a formal business contract to expand services throughout Allegheny County bus routes and beyond.


Join the conversation:

Photo of KatieWalsh 100

Hi Nahom - many thanks for publishing this idea post - you are at once highlighting a problem and providing the solution. Your image really explains a lot too - good job, and good luck with the judging process, I'm really glad you published in time, Katie - Facilitator

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