Today SmartRail World is in Córdoba, Argentina to learn about a pioneering smartcard solution for the city’s transit network. Within the rapidly growing city, the second largest in the country with a population of 1.3 million, the transport network is owned by local government and is operated by private transportation companies that contract with the Government to provide the public transportation service. The service has moved from cash transaction to token based travel but both these options were subject to fraud and theft. The latest project aimed at improving security and efficiency of its public bus and trolley network was a new fare collection solution called Red Bus Córdoba – a smartcard based system delivered by Wordline.
It’s a turnkey system offering not just improved fare collection but also an opportunity to gain valuable data to improve efficiency in managing the transport network and bus fleet.
I asked Alejandro Rametta, eTicketing Global Product Manager of Worldline to tell me a little more about the project; “The transport network in Córdoba, like many across South America is run by the local government. But the very popular bus network was not operating as efficiently as it could have, so they tendered out the fare collection system. Worldline secured the contract, and have since 1991 delivered ticketing solutions, the most recent of which has been the Red Bus Contactless card launched in 2006. It was a major change for the citizens of Córdoba, who before used tokens, so people had to be educated as to its use. Nowadays 100% of tickets in Córdoba are Red Bus contactless smartcards.”
The fare system was evolving according to technology availability and cultural issues:
- Chip card locally produced not being ISO compliant (1991)
- Chip card ISO compliant (1995)
- Contactless card ISO 14443 (2006)
- Contactless card ISO 14443 as the only fare media accepted (2011). It meant no more tokens used
Across the city there are over 1000 points of sale where the cards can be bought and topped-up (mainly manually Points of Sales and some Ticket Vending Machines) and the www.red-bus.com.ar website updates daily with the latest places and opening hours of the points of sale. As well as offering ease for the passenger, the Red Bus system provides a convenient and safe collection process for the bus drivers/operators and Transport Authority
An additional benefit is a major improvement in the data that Worldline have delivered for the Public Transportation System. Each bus has GPS, online GPRS and a Wi-Fi connection and between that and the smart card use, offers detailed statistics on users, drivers, key routes, wait times (under implementation) and rush hours. Using this data helps significantly in the evaluation, reporting and planning of the network.
With Córdoba having fully embraced the deployment of the Red Bus system, I asked Alejandro where this system goes next; “Well, we are growing its potential and looking to add new developments for the passenger, in particular passenger information systems and a transit App. We’ve also made other passenger focussed features such as the ability to travel one journey even without a positive balance on the card."
A similar solution is used in the capital, Buenos Aires, which is again an AFC system which operates to a different standard. We are really proud of the development we’ve rolled out in Córdoba, it’s a real leader in South America and its fantastic to see both Public Transportation System and the passengers benefiting from it every-day.”
For more on this solution and Worldline’s work visit www.worldline.com/en-us/home.html.