To validate, or not to validate

Offline Payments in Account-based Ticketing
Account-based Ticketing has become a key technology for automated fare collection in public transportation. Unlike traditional card-based ticketing solutions, ABT shifts all data away from any physical media (e.g., smart cards or paper tickets) to the back office with the cloud technology and links it to personal accounts.

Introduction to Account-Based Ticketing (ABT)

Account-based Ticketing (ABT) is revolutionizing automated fare collection in public transportation systems. This innovative technology shifts all data management away from physical media, such as smart cards or paper tickets, to the back office utilizing cloud technology. ABT links fare collection processes to individual personal accounts, simplifying the entire ticketing system.

How ABT Works

In traditional card-based ticketing systems, data is stored on physical cards that passengers carry. Validators read these cards, deducting fare amounts directly from the stored balance. In contrast, ABT involves validators sharing an account ID with a back-office system. The back office then processes the fare calculation online, linking it to the passenger’s account. This shift enhances convenience, as users no longer need to carry physical tickets or cards, and it allows for more flexible and dynamic fare structures.

Dependence on Internet Connectivity

One significant aspect of ABT is its reliance on internet connectivity. Validators at entry points in public transportation systems must communicate with the back-office system to verify account information and process transactions in real-time. This dependency on a stable internet connection raises a critical question: What happens if the system goes offline?

Handling Offline Payments in ABT Systems

When an ABT system goes offline, it faces challenges in ensuring seamless fare collection and preventing revenue loss. However, several strategies can be employed to mitigate these issues and maintain operational continuity:

  1. Local Storage of Recent Transactions: Validators can store recent transaction data locally. If the system goes offline, the validators can continue to process transactions based on the locally stored data. Once the connection is restored, these transactions are uploaded to the back office for reconciliation.

  2. Pre-loaded Fare Information: Validators can be equipped with pre-loaded fare information and account details. This allows them to validate and process transactions even without an active internet connection. The pre-loaded data ensures that fare collection continues without interruptions.

  3. Periodic Synchronization: Implementing periodic synchronization ensures that validators regularly update their local data with the back-office system. In case of temporary disconnections, the validators can rely on the most recent synchronized data to continue operations smoothly.

  4. Fallback Mechanisms: Developing fallback mechanisms, such as accepting alternative payment methods (e.g., cash or temporary paper tickets), can help manage fare collection during prolonged outages. These mechanisms ensure that passengers are not inconvenienced, and fare collection continues without significant disruptions.

  5. Redundant Communication Channels: Utilizing multiple communication channels, such as cellular networks and Wi-Fi, can enhance the reliability of internet connectivity. If one channel fails, the system can switch to an alternative, reducing the likelihood of complete disconnection.

Benefits of Offline Capability in ABT

  1. Enhanced Reliability: Offline capabilities ensure that fare collection is not solely dependent on internet connectivity. This enhances the reliability of the ABT system, especially in areas with unstable network coverage.

  2. Uninterrupted Service: Passengers experience uninterrupted service even during connectivity issues. This is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and trust in the public transportation system.

  3. Revenue Protection: Offline payment processing helps protect revenue by ensuring that all transactions are captured and processed, even if there are temporary network issues.


Account-based Ticketing is transforming public transportation fare collection by linking it to personal accounts and leveraging cloud technology. While ABT systems heavily rely on internet connectivity, implementing strategies for offline payments ensures continuity and reliability. By employing local storage, pre-loaded fare information, periodic synchronization, fallback mechanisms, and redundant communication channels, public transportation systems can effectively manage offline scenarios. This approach guarantees uninterrupted service, enhances customer satisfaction, and protects revenue, solidifying ABT as a robust solution for modern fare collection.



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