Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan and is the second largest city in the country, with a population closely reaching 1 million inhabitants. There are numerous bus companies in the country, and using multiple companies before the Transway project was cumbersome, difficult and more costly.
The Transway project encompasses nine (9) separate bus companies, nearly 1000 validators on buses, and 300 Ticket Kiosks for selling and reloading the Astana Card, which has replaced the paper ticket system that was in place. The project also includes a Cashier Station, a TapNGo back office application with company reports, and a clearing house application. There is full synchronization via a cellular network.
The Astana Public Transport Ticketing Systems was developed and tailored specifically to the needs of the customer. More specifically, Astana wanted a separate Ticket Machine that was not to be used by the driver, but rather for ticket sellers, or conductors, on the vehicles. The ticket sellers operate the hand held sales Ticket Kiosks. The devices send data to the local server, which acts as a clearing house for the bus companies.
The Ticket Management System includes and encompasses communications capabilities, where data is disseminated through WiFi. Each company has its own data stored on their respective local servers, and a central server receives specific data necessary for the clearing house. This also serves as an automatic backup of the data that is also available on the Ticket Machines that are on board the vehicles.
This project is a multi-client (multi-company) Bus Ticketing System, where handheld / mobileTicketing Machines were incorporated on the buses and are used by conductors. This handheld Ticket Kiosk runs a full fledged ticketing application, and allows the conductor to sell contracts to passengers that have a smart card ticket that needs reloading or topping, as well as to charge a passenger for the current ride through their smart travel card.
The pricing model for this project is such that the smart travel cards hold an electronic wallet and the fare for the current trip is calculated according to the station where the passenger boarded. The boarding station is taken from the built in GPS system. The information is relayed to the TapNGo back office station through cellular or Bluetooth technology. The conductor goes to unique discharge stations where cash from the passengers is deposited.
The project also includes ticket sales at convenience stores, or Kiosks, and utilizes the same type of handheld Ticket Kiosks as those used by the conductors. However, in the case of the Kiosks, these units are affixed permanently to the Kiosk sales counters. This increases the number of points of sale dramatically, with little or no additional costs to the bus companies. In terms of passenger convenience, it means that most of the passengers are able to purchase or load their tickets at these Kiosks, instead of on the actual bus. The project includes SmileNGo personalization stations for the sake of issuing personalized smart cards. This stations makes it possible to even print advertisements on the back side of the smart card tickets, and thus cover the costs of the plastic smart card tickets in the Ticket Management System project.
The project utilizes two (2) types of tickets: Mifare and cardboard tickets of the Ultra-Light type. Cardboard tickets are designated for limited travel and are not reloadable.
Another system that is activated in this Public Transport Ticketing System project is the card activation system. This system sits with the Ministry of Transportation, and its purpose is to activate cards before they enter the card pool from which the public purchases their smart cards. Without this system, it would be possible to purchase machines on the open market and bring them into the project with no control.
All of the systems are connected to a local TapNGo back office system which includes communications servers, applications and report generators. The Ticket Management System also includes administration stations that use web based programs and that incorporate permissions for different positions and functions, thus allowing different functionality for different personnel in the project. For example, an accountant could be able to create financial reports, but would not be able to update stations and bus lines.