Publication Date


Document Type



Bus lines -- Fares -- Oregon -- Portland, Bus lines -- Fares -- Oregon -- Portland -- Equipment and supplies, Ticket printing machines, Passes (Transportation) Bus lines -- Fares, Bus lines -- Fares -- Equipment and supplies, Oregon -- Portland, light rail transit -- automatic ticket machines


The collection of fares has always been a difficult but essential part of public transit service operation. Many means have been tried--some more successfully than others. The more successful methods have generally been the most expensive, usually due to labor costs (conductors), provision of structural barriers (turnstiles) or time delays (drivers). There is a direct trade-off between the fare collection level of effort and the loss of fare revenues due to fare violations. It is desirable for transit operators to minimize both the fare collection effort and the number of undetected fare violations.

Faced with similar problems, many European transit operators have approached the fare collection task with the introduction of Self-Service Fare Collection, where the responsibility for correct fare payment is turned over to the transit rider. Realizing that riders will not always comply with the fare system, they are randomly spot-checked, unannounced by a fare inspector who issues penalties for incorrect or non-payment of fare. In Europe and, to a lesser extent, in North America, it was found that this method was closer to the optimization of minimal collection effort and minimal fare violation. The system made operations more efficient by allowing drivers to focus attention on operating the bus and by allowing passengers to enter or leave the bus by any door. Peer pressure and inspectors were able to minimize non-compliance with the fare system.

With the objective of improving the operation of large capacity articulated buses and light rail trains, Tri-Met has turned to self-service fare collection, the first application of such a system to bus operations in North America. While significant operational benefits are expected, it is hoped that, despite fears of many transit operators, the level of fare compliance would remain the same or even improve.

This paper discusses the design and results of the pre-implementation portion of the Fare Compliance Study.

Persistent Identifier