Automatic fare collection system for public transport in Athens

Public transport users across Greece’s capital city are set to save time on their journeys thanks to the introduction of a state-of-the-art automatic fare collection system (AFCS). The new system is to be rolled out across all public transport modes including buses, trolley buses, urban rail services, trams and the metro.

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The investment is for the design, installation, maintenance and technical management of the AFCS, which will be deployed through all services operated by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation. The AFCS sees an end to the issuing of paper tickets, which are replaced by electronic alternatives validated by units installed on all public transport vehicles.

Multiple benefits

This efficient, modern way of paying fares provides across-the-board efficiencies by improving the operational performance of Athens’s public transport system. In addition to speeding up journeys for customers by reducing delays, the AFCS is likely to stem loss of revenue by cutting down on fare dodging. It is also expected to make public transport more appealing to car users.

The project is implemented through a public-private partnership and will take about 12 years to fully implement – two years for design and ten for delivery. The AFCS provides two types of fare: the “multiple” uses a memory contactless smart card without a microchip. This option is low in cost, rechargeable and capable of storing information about a fare; and the “Card”, which also harnesses a contactless smart card, but with a microchip. This alternative can store details about various combinations of fares and can be personalised to include the holder’s photograph. It is designed to replace monthly and annual fare cards, as well as free passes.

Huge system

The project provides for a huge range of equipment to deliver the AFCS, including 600 portable points-of-sale terminals, more than 950 entry and exit gates, and around 6 000 vehicle validation machines. The system also comes with portable inspection devices and recharging equipment for the operator.

The AFCS should be flexible enough to allow the operator to provide new pricing policies and fare structures, which will directly benefit the city’s four million residents, as well as thousands of visitors.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Integrated Automatic Fare Collection System” is EUR 91 496 631, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 29 544 300 from the Operational Programme “Attica” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Work falls under the priority “Sustainable Development and Quality of Life”.

Draft date

25/11/2014