Thriving Regional Smart Card System Made Even More Interoperable


The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) needed to leverage their existing fare collection technology to continue the close relationship with local universities by offering a student program in which both the agency and universities could offer and track use of their populations on PAAC’s system. In the past the Universities paid the agency a lump sum, allowing free use to their ridership.

Rather than opting for a implementation of a highly complex “open payment” system, Scheidt & Bachmann implemented ID-based ticketing features into the existing smart card system at substantially less cost and effort as compared to a full “open payment“ system. Scheidt & Bachmann was able to utilize the technology of a typical “card based” smart card Fare Collection System, to allow PAAC to accept 3rd party issued cards, providing a wealth of savings and data to all parties without the need for any hardware modifications.

In 2011 Scheidt & Bachmann migrated the U-Pass program to PAACs new Fare Collection System. The U-Pass program allows students and employees with a valid, university-issued ID card to ride agency vehicles without paying fares. This allows the MiFare based student IDs are to be accepted on any of the devices on the system. A “positive” list of all valid student ID serial #s is created on PAAC’s backend and uploads to all devices. The universities now pay the agency based on actual usage. This program resulted in significant efficiencies to the Institutions and PAAC while reducing fraud.After a subsequent system update in 2015 general ridership was able to manage their accounts as well as add products and value online. The scalability and flexibility of Fare Collection System allows PAAC and their regional partners to grow in ways that best benefits the region and its’ commuters well-being and prosperity.

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