Case Studies Cities & Regions

IRMA MATRIX in Tver metropolitan area in Russia

«Datapax» Presented Solution to Counter Fare Dodgers in Russian Regions

Fare dodging problem is relevant for every region, with its share in the total passenger readership varying from

15% to 50%

(where conductorless fare collection systems have been adopted). Furthermore, more often than not it is hard to obtain objective and regular statistics as this big data is costly for manual collection and analysis. Thus, data is mostly obtained during ticket checks where the number of fare dodgers is determined by expert assessment based on the number of ticket fines. Specifically, around 600,000 fines were issued in Moscow over 2019 for a total amount of 623 million rubles (data by Organizer of transportation). According to data by JSC Yargorelektrotrans, about 40% passengers evade public transportation fare payment in Yaroslavl. During a test period of conductorless fare collection in Perm over February through April 2021, the share of the identified fare dodgers was 17% (data by the Transportation Department of the Perm City Hall).

“In Perm, gross-cost contracts have been concluded with the city bus route carriers. These contracts stipulate paying the operators for their transportation services while the collected fare is transferred to the city. Failure to collect ticket payments from the fare dodgers, therefore, hurts the entire industry and makes it impossible to develop the city public transportation with the desired growth rate,” as stated by the Perm City Hall’s Transportation Department.

Various solutions to the fare dodging problem exist. In some regions, passengers can board through the front door only. This allows to regularize boarding and alighting at public transportation stops as well as improve fare collection discipline.  This method is currently in use in some cities of the Moscow Regions, in Belgorod and Saratov, among others. In Moscow, however, this solution has been abandoned as it greatly increases boarding and overall travel time.

©Damir Babacic

A number of regions employ conductors. On each route in Penza, Perm, Ekaterinburg and Kaliningrad, a conductor in the passenger area will not allow fare dodging. While increasing the percentage of paid rides, this solution is very costly from the prospect of the carrier who pays the conductor’s salary.

Often, the salary bill for conductors exceeds fees for additional tickets issued.

In Tver, prior to the shift to a new transportation service model and adoption of a comprehensive digital solution, share of fare dodgers was at 40%, while in 2020 this indicator dropped to 10–12% (data by the region’s Transportation Ministry). This result was achieved thanks to a comprehensive approach.

“For the Tver Region, fare dodging is as relevant and acute problem as for any other Russian region, and we are solving it consistently by planning and implementing ticket checks jointly conducted by the Transportation Ministry of the Tver Region, the Transport Verkhnevolzhya operator company, and the police, resulting in the identification of dodgers and holding them administratively liable. Just over a year of these joined efforts, we have reduced the dodger share severalfold, and we currently have a new tool that will allow to completely eliminate this problem”, per the Transportation Ministry of the Tver Region.

As further elaborated by the Tver Region Transportation Ministry, this refers to the digital solution, an innovative tool by Datapax introduced by this company in mid-June 2021. In essence, this is a service of fare dodging forecast and ticket check automation, and it complements the comprehensive public transportation management system. The service has been successfully tested in the Tver metropolitan area, and it is planned that it will be adopted in each Russian region operating on a gross-cost contract.

Based on the results of pilot runs of solutions to counter fare dodging in the Tver Region, number of dodgers reduced twofold with the corresponding increase in the ticket fee collection.

According to Maksim Isayev, Deputy General Director of Datapax, the adoption period of this digital tool in a region does not exceed 30 business days, and already over the first month, in addition to a steep reduction in the number of fare dodgers, it is possible to increase the operational efficiency of ticket inspectors by 30% and decrease idle inspections by 10%.

Forecasting of fare dodging rides is implemented by processing data on the carried passengers and paid rides obtained from the automated passenger counting and fare collection systems. The service includes automated planning of the ticket checks using a dynamic mathematical model developed; generates, in an automatic mode, inspection orders in a mobile app for ticket inspectors; monitors and analyses the key operational indicators of the ticket inspection services; provides reports on the completed jobs.

On the region’s heat map, it is possible to observe peak values of the difference between the passenger flow data from sensors and transactions in the public transportation fare collection system. In other words, these are the areas with the maximum number of dodgers where ticket inspectors are needed to do their job.

“The comprehensive approach to the information collection and processing has solved the problem of accounting and planning of the budget revenues with respect to the fare collection level. The possibility of comparison of the fare collection data and the number of passengers in the passenger area obtained from the IRMA MATRIX sensors has allowed to reduce the number of dodgers by 50% in the Tver passenger transport”, says Gennadiy Gudumak, another project participant and Deputy General Director of SC TTM, the developer and supplier of the passenger counting system.

It is worth noting separately that one of the most important elements of the system is the passenger flow data obtained using the IRMA MATRIX passenger counting sensors known as exceptionally reliable and high-precision measuring instruments as have been evidenced by multiple validations through manual counting and operational experience.

According to the opinion of its developers, this solution is without equals in Russia, and it is much needed in each region where the transportation system has been shifted to gross-cost contracts. Datapax proposes that the new service should be adopted in other Russian regions.

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