The Gautrain Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system is designed to serve the Gautrain in the following respects:
- It provides convenient access for all to railway, feeder bus and parking services.
- It facilitates revenue collection by means of the fare media.
- It protects revenue by means of its security resources.
- It promotes the use of public transport over car use through discounted fares for park-and-ride customers.
- It facilitates control of business performance through product management and management information reporting.
- It provides many opportunities for expanding, extending and developing the business, including the support of a variety of alternatives for interoperability with other transit systems.
Special consideration has been given to the needs of people with disabilities, to minimising queues and to making ticket purchase and car parking access and payment as simple as possible. Wide entry gates are provided at all stations for use by anybody requiring extra space such as wheelchair users, those with baggage and adults accompanied by small children in pushchairs or buggies.
The fare collection system will be based on a state-of-the-art contactless smart-card (CSC) system which will enable customers to load a variety of different journey products, ranging from single trips to monthly tickets, onto the same credit-card sized card and to re-use the same card over and over again without having to buy a new ticket for each journey.
The CSC is a contactless means of payment using a smart chip and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) that will enable customers to simply hold their card near to a Gautrain card reader (located at all entrances and exists to stations and parking areas and on the buses) in order for the system to register their journey.
The CSC system will allow seamless transfers between Gautrain’s bus, train and parking services. Customers using more than one service within a single journey will enjoy a reduced fare.
Customers will also be able to register their cards with the Gautrain operator which will enable immediate blacklisting of the card should it be lost or stolen. Any unutilized value on the lost card can then be transferred to a new card.
CSC’s will be available from all ticket offices and ticket vending machines at Gautrain Stations as well as from selected off-site retailers. Payment for products is possible using coins, cash, debit card, credit card and by direct debit from a bank account, either manually or automatically by prior agreement.
Cash will not be accepted on buses or at the fare gates themselves.
The AFC system automatically generates auditable transaction data, as well as management reports and secures revenue by access control, fare media security and system-wide security techniques.
- Access control takes the form of physical, automatic barriers at stations and car parks and, on feeder buses, validation devices which give out audible warnings to bus drivers. CSCs (or products on them) may be blacklisted to prevent their use.
- In addition to blacklisting, the CSCs use a variety of electronic access controls, data encryption and error correcting technologies. Contactless media incorporate mechanisms to prevent incomplete transactions from being recorded as if they were completed (known as anti-tear).
- System-wide security techniques enable devices system-wide to recognise each other (by mutual authentication). Transactions are associated with the date, time and the machine that created them. For manned machines, the identity of the operator is also traceable.
Gautrain has a balanced approach in its fare policy aimed at making the service attractive and affordable. In principle, Gautrain fares will be lower than the cost of using a private car for the same journey but more expensive than those of existing taxi and rail fares. Fare levels will be finalised just before the opening of the system and periodically adjusted thereafter.