Hellar, jr automatic fare collection system for rapid transit systems
US 3212615 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,212,615 AUTGMATIC FARE (ZOLLECTION SYSTEM FOR RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEMS Martin W. Hellar, In, Dover, N.H., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Aug. 28, 1963, Ser. No. 305,101 10 Claims. (Cl. 194-4) This invention relates to fare collection systems and, more particularly, to an automatic fare collection system for use in a rapid transit system.
In recent years, increased attention has been given to rapid transit systems for moving the maximum number of people in a minimum amount of time. The increased interest and attention to these systems has developed due to the congestion on the highways and the increasing problem of bringing people into and out of the center of our larger cities. The increased attention paid to the rapid transit systems has shown that it has become increasingly necessary to provide a more rapid means of bringing customers into and out of the transit systems and of properly setting the fares and collecting the fares from such customers.
In most rapid transit systems either a single fare sturcture or a zoned fare structure is used. In the single fare structure the customer may enter the transit system at any point on the payment of the single fare and he may then ride to any other point in the system desired. In the zoned fare structure the customer must purchase a special ticket which is generally useable from the entry station to another specified station of the system. Of course, normally should the customer desire, he may get off the transit system at some point prior to his originally desired exit point. However, he may not ride beyond the point for which he has purchased a ticket without payment of an additional fare. With the zoned fare structure a plurality of tickets are required of various types. This structure also requires personnel on the premises at the various stations to issue any of the necessary types of tickets and it requires further personnel within the transit system, such as conductors, to collect tickets and be certain that each customer has a fully paid ticket for the particular trip taken.
It is, of course, obvious that a zoned fare structure is a necessity in most rapid transit systems, since each customer will pay according to the use made of the system. Further, inasmuch as many of the rapid transit systems which surround many of our cities, extending from suburban areas into the urban center of the cities, come from large distances, it is necessary that the customers from the farthest end of the transit system pay a much larger fare than the customers who live relatively near to the city. However, a single fare structure is much simpler in operation, it requires less operating personnel and is, therefore, a less costly system. In order to improve the rapid transit systems, decrease costs and make them more attractive to customers, it is considered desirable to provide a fare collection system which will be substantially automatic, in the manner of a single fare system, and which will allow the use of a zoned fare structure.
It is, therefore, one object of this invention to provide a fare collection system which is completely automatic and allows unattended operation.
A further object of this invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which uses a zoned fare structure.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which is simple and reliable. Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which is economical to install and operate.
3,212,615 Patented Oct. 19, 1965 A still further object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which will be secure against misuse.
A further object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which will provide for prepaid fares and which may be convenient for commuter use.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which may be flexible, allowing for future additions to the system as well as for changes in the fare structure of the system.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which may be used with credit cards.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an automatic fare collection system which will make use of lowcost paper tickets and in which such tickets may be reused if desired.
Briefly, this invention comprises a system for collecting the appropriate fare from a transit customer for transportation between any two points of the transit system. In one form of the invention, a ticket vending machine is provided from which the customer purchases his ticket for a given trip on the tranisit system. The ticket is presented to an entrance turnstile, which ascertains that the ticket is valid, and codes it as to the possible exit stations, according to the cost of the ticket and the entrance station. This action unlocks the turnstile and allows the customer to enter the transit system. After taking the desired ride, the customer uses the ticket to exit from the transit system. The ticket is presented to an exit turn stile which checks the coded exits to determine that the ticket is appropriate for that exit station. If the ticket is correctly coded the turnstile will unlock and allow the customer to leave. If the ticket is improper, that is, if insnfficient fare has been paid for the trip actually taken, the ticket will be returned to the customer and he will be directed to a special exit turnstile. The special exit turnstile will accept the ticket, compute the difference between the fare paid and the fare due for the ride taken, and after receiving this difference from the customer will unlock to allow the customer to leave.
If desired, a time coding can also be provided which may be entered on the ticket to prevent misuse of the ticket. With time coding on each ticket the ticket would be coded with the time of entrance and with an allowed lapsed time sufiicient to enable the customer to take the purchased trip. If on leaving the system it is found that the time has expired then the ticket would be returned to the customer and the customer directed to the special exit turnstile. At this turnstile the customer would again present the expired time ticket and would be charged a maximum fare before the turnstile would unlock to allow the customer to leave the system.
The invention which is desired to be protected will be distinctly pointed out and specifically claimed in the claims appended hereto. However, it is believed that this invention and the manner in which its various objects and advantages are obtained, as well as other objects and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following detailed description of a specific embodiment thereof, especially when considered in the light of the accompanying drawing which is a schematic flow diagram of one form of automatic fare collection system according to this invention.
In the automatic fare collection system it is desired to provide a system having the lowest possible cost with maximum reliability, while permitting maximum ease of use by the regular rider who may be a commuter, and which will provide excellent service for cash riders. The fundamental r-ules deemed necessary to reach these objectives are to have the customer do as few things as possible and to utilize a system logic which is simple, yet one which will yield a maximum reliability. For simplicity, it is believed that access to the transit system must always be by the same type ticket, regardless of the service, that is, whether it is a credit sale, a cash sale, or a commuter.
Referring now to the drawing, it is seen that entrance turnstile 10 is provided for entry to the transit system, generally indicated as 12. The entrance turnstile is shown as being provided with three lines coming thereto, line 14, which may be termed the cash line, line 16, which is the commuter line and line 18, which is the credit card line. Considering first the cash line, the cash customer will first consult a fare board 20 which will be provided with a large-scale system map designating all stations within the transit system. The map will be displayed at each individual station and will indicate the names of the other stations of the system and the amount of fare required from the point of observation to such station. The cash rider will consult the fare board to determine the fare necessary for the desired destination. After determining the required fare the customer may go to the money-changer, indicated at 22, in order to obtain the appropriate change, or go directly to the ticket vending machine 24. At the ticket vending machine the customer will insert the appropriate coins or bills for the desired trip and will be issued a trip ticket, indicated at 26, which will be an appropriate ticket for the particular ride desired by the customer.
The ticket, indicated at 26, will be generally made of a paper stock and will be provided with a coding means 27, such as a magnetized matrix, which will be coded according to the fare schedule of the transit system with each ticket of a given value being provided with a matrix which will indicate the maximum trip that the customer may take for the fare paid. One form of ticket useable in the system of this invention is disclosed and claimed in patent application Serial No. 305,102 filed concurrently herewith in the name of Thomas P. Goodman for Transit Ticket Having Fa-re Coding Means for Automatic Fare Collection Systems and assigned to the same assignee as this invention. An edge of the ticket may be cut off, as indicate-d at 28, in order to provide the proper orientation of the ticket in the system equipment.
The cash customer will then present the ticket to the entrance turnstile 10. The entrance turnstile 10 will code the ticket as to those exits which may be used by the customer according to the value of the ticket purchased and the entrance station. If desired, the entrance turnstile will also code the ticket with the time of entrance as well as a desired lapse time, in accordance with the value of the ticket. A time coding means, such as 29, may be provided on ticket 26 for this purpose. The ticket will then be returned to the customer and the turnstile will be unlocked so that the customer may enter the system.
The customer will take the ride to the desired exit and will then leave the transit vehicle and will approach the exit turnstile 30 where the ticket is again presented to leave the system. The exit turnstile will check the exit code to determine that it has been coded for such exit by the entrance turnstile 10, and if a time code is provided on the ticket the exit turnstile will also check the time coding. If both are correct the exit turnstile will retain the ticket and unlock, allowing the customer to leave.
If desirable, for example, should the transit system be used with an urban transit system such that transfers may be utilized, a transfer vendor may be provided as indicated at 32. Before the customer leaves the transit system he may present his ticket to the transfer vending machine and if the ticket is correct he may provide a desired number of coins to obtain the transfer from the vendor. The transfer would, in general, be in the form of a paper ticket such as a theater ticket to minimize the expense of the transfer. Generally, the transfer vendor will be conditioned so that only one transfer ticket may be provided for each transit ticket. The transit ticket 26 may, for example, have a special transfer point which may be a magnetizable spot or a port-ion to be punched when the ticket is inserted into the transfer vendor 32. The magnetized spot will be magnetized or the portion will be punched at the same time a transfer is provided. If the same ticket is presented a second time to the transfer vendor 32, the spot will have been magnetized, or the hole punched, so that the vendor will refuse the ticket.
At each exit station there will be provided a special exit turnstile, as indicated at 34. These exit turnstiles will be used in those cases Where the customers have violated some of the rules of the system. For example, the violations may be lost tickets, time expired tickets, or insuificient fare tickets. In such cases, when the ticket is presented to the exit turnstile, the exit turnstile will refuse the ticket if either the time has expired or there is insufficient fare paid. In each of these instances the customer must then go to the exit turnstile 34 and present the ticket to this turnstile. In the event that it is a problem of insuflicient fare, the turnstile will compute the amount of the fare due, indicating it by a lighted device, for example. The customer will then present to the turnstile the fare due and will be allowed to leave the system. For the lost ticket or the time expired ticket the customer may be required to pay the maximum fare to that station from the most remote station in the system. The customer with the lost ticket may then leave. The customer with the time expired ticket may also leave but he may take his ticket with him which may be later returned to some central oifice for a refund.
In the case of a commuter the same system will be used as previously indicated for the cash customer. Tickets 26 will be normally purchased by the commuter on a weekly or a monthly basis, that is, he will purchase a group of five tickets or a group of twenty-five tickets, depending on the type of commuting and will use one ticket per day. The commuter ticket will be identically the same as the cash ticket only the commuter will normally buy, from a central office or other dispersing area, a large number of tickets, all for the same trip. The ticket will be presented to the entrance turnstile and coded in the same manner as the cash ticket and the commuter will exit in the same manner as the cash customer. Again, he will be required to use the proper exit or pay additional fare and he will be required to take the trip in the appropriate time period or will be required to pay the maximum fare. One of the principal advantages of this system is that only a single type of turnstile equipment is necessary to process both the cash customer and the commuter customer. The commuter customer, in buying ahead of time is only required to stop at the entrance and exit turnstiles.
If desired, a credit card ticketing machine may be provided so that patrons with credit cards may be accommodated by the automatic fare collection system. In this system a credit card ticket vendor would be provided, as indicated at 36, and a credit card would be inserted into the ticket vendor. The credit card rider, after determining his desired trip, would then punch a particular button in the credit card machine to obtain the desired ticket for his ride. The vending machine would issue the ticket, would charge the credit card account with the transaction and deliver both the ticket and the credit card to the customer. The customer would then use the ticket 26 in exactly the same manner as the commuter and cash customers.
The particular components of the fare collection system are believed to be clear from the material which has been presented hereinbefore. The turnstiles 10 and 30 will be substantially identical and will be of the ticketonly accepting type. The turn-stile 10, which may be designated the In turnstile, will accept the ticket which is inserted by the customer, will encode the coded portion according to the particular station code and the entrance time. In general, where a magnetic coding means is used, the hardware required for such entrance turnstiles will be a magnetizing head for the matrix and a second magnetizing head for the time. These magnetizing functions could be performed with the ticket stationary by pulsing the magnetic head so that the ticket may be placed in the entrance turnstile and positioned accurately by the mechanism while placing the magnetic code on the ticket. After coding the ticket is returned to the customer and the turnstile opened. The Out function turnstile is required to verify the riders exit at a station which is proper for the amount of fare paid. This verifiication is done by inspecting the coding means for the exit to be certain that a coded symbol exists for that exit. When the rider places the ticket in the turnstile the turnstile will take the ticket and, where magnetic coding mean-s are used, sweep past a magnetic reading head to determine if the magnetized spot exists at the appropriate exit. If the spot exists, one side of an AND circuit would be closed. The second check to be performed is that of checking elapsed time. For example, a magnetic head could sweep the time coding and transferring this to a comparator circuit to check against an exit allowed time. If the times coincide within set limits the other side of the AND circuit is closed, the turnstile released and the ticket retained by the turnstile. In general, the only equipment necessary in the turnstiles would be a ticket feed mechanism to accept the ticket and put it in the proper position for magnetizing or for scanning and reading magnetic heads for magnetizing or for reading out the station and the time, a comparative circuit for checking the time and, if desired, counters for counting the number of In and Out riders.
The special turnstiles, such as turnstile 34, would be necessary to provide exit from the system to the riders who have lost their tickets, who have overridden their tickets or where the time has expired on their tickets. The exit function of these turnstiles will be different and require more logic to allow complete flexibility in a rapid transit system. With a ticket placed in the turnstile for exit the matrix would be checked to see if a magnetizable spot in the proper exit is measured. If not, the turnstile would then check the exit which had been magnetized and from this information refer to a code table to determine the money which should be paid for the ticket. The value of the ticket would then be subtracted from the necessary value and then an indication would be provided of the amount due. When the amount is deposited in the coin chute the amount due would be canceled out and when the total amount had been paid one side of an AND circuit would be released. Again, a time check would be made, as explained in the previous manner, with additional time added for the additional fare. If both the time and the fare portions were correct the turnstile would be opened to allow the rider to exit from the system. For a rider who has lost his ticket or who has an overtime ticket he would be required to deposit the maximum amount indicated on a sign above the turnstile. This would allow him to leave the system and, if he had a ticket, retain such ticket for a refund at some central office. The special exit turnstile would require, in addition to the material indicated before, a special magnetic readout to determine the value of the ticket and the location of entry, at table showing cost of ride from other points in the system to the exit, the logic necessary to perform the subtraction, and a coin chute for accepting and accumulating the amount paid, and a display, preferably lighted, to indicate the money due.
The fare boards at each ticketing area would be of a very simple type showing all of the stations in the system with a designation of the station at which the map was being displayed. All of the individual station names would be displayed on the map along with the amount of the fare required from the station at which the display was presented. From this fare board the customer would be able to determine the amount of fare required; he could then purchase a ticket of this value rather than purchasing ticket-s from one station to another station. Thus there would only need to be a suificient variety of tickets to take care of all possible combinations of fares of the system, but there would not need to be specific tickets from one station to each other station. This would greatly simplify the vending machine requirements.
The ticket vending machine would only be required to dispense the different values of trip rides according to the number of trips available within the system. The tickets would be carried in the vending machine in accordance with the value of the particular trip. As coins are added in the vending machine lights could be used to indicate the amount paid by lighting a ticket dispensing button corresponding to that amount. When all of the necessary money was placed in the vending machine the customer would push the finally lighted button to obtain his ticket. The equipment required in the vending machine would be a coin chute, a storage capacity and discharging facilities for the variety of fare denominations and a device for testing and validating coins, rejecting defects and slugs, as well as counting and totalizing and indicating total amounts.
The credit card ticket vendor 36 would be substantially the same as the ticket vendor 24. However, the difference would be that instead of depositing coins the patron would merely press the button for the desired fare and receive a ticket according to that fare. Thus there would be no need for the coin chutes and the device for testing and validating coins. It would only be necessary to have a storage capacity and discharge facilities for the total number of fare denominations which would be actuated by a given button when a proper credit card was placed within the ticket vendor 36. Additional equipment required would be a device for determining the credit card number and recording on tape or otherwise the credit card number and the amount of the ticket purchased. It would also be desirable to have within the credit card ticket vendor 36 appropriate equipment so that the credit card presented could be checked to determine if it was a credit card which was still good. Normally, each credit card ticket vendor could be provided with a bad credit file which would be a plurality of numbers which could be automatically checked against the credit card number presented. Should a bad credit indication be provided the credit card ticket would merely be returned to the credit card customer without allowing such customer to obtain a ticket.
The transfer vendors would be small, wall-mounted machines and when the customer places the ticket in the device and deposits the proper amount of money a paper ticket would be issued, good for a transfer on other transit systems. The transfer vendor would require sufiicient equipment to inspect the ticket to ascertain that it had not been previously used to obtain a transfer, and to cancel the ticket for transfer purposes when a transfer was given. It would also require coin chutes and a device for validating and testing coins presented, as well as transfers and a transfer dispensing device.
As will be understood, a digital clock will be provided at each of the stations in the transit system. In general, the clocks would be such that they would provide time for a given period, for example, two days, in terms of fifteen minute increments in an eight bit binary code. The output of the clocks will be provided for each of the turnstiles. The time provided by the clock will be used to both encode and decode the tickets. Since the clocks would not have to be accurate to the second, they could be operated synchronously from volt, 60 cycle line with no interconnections necessary. The clocks could be manually set to the nearest one-half minute which would provide sufficient accuracy for the timing of the encoding and decoding of the time elements on the tickets.
From the above it will be apparent that there has been set forth herein an automatic fare collection system which meets all the requirements and has all the advantages hereinbefore set forth. While the invention has been shown and described with reference to a specific embodiment it will of course be understood that many changes may be made in the various details without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, especially as set forth in the claims appended hereto.
What is claimed as new and which it is desired to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. An automatic fare collection system for transit systems comprising:
(a) a ticket vending machine, said machine dispensing a ticket good for a trip of a given value on the transit system on receipt of the fare for such ticket;
(-b) said ticket having a coding means;
(c) an entrance turnstile, said entrance turnstile encoding said ticket coding means with an indication of the entrance station and with coded indications of the various exit stations possible according to the value of said ticket;
(d) an exit turnstile, said exit turnstile being actuated by said ticket for checking said ticket coding means to determine that said ticket is properly coded for said exit turnstile.
2. An automatic fare collection system as claimed in claim 1 in which said exit turnstile rejects said ticket if not properly coded and a special exit turnstile is provided, said special exit turnstile being actuated by said ticket not properly coded to indicate extra fare due, and on payment of said extra fare allowing exit from the system.
3. An automatic fare collection system for transit systems comprising:
(a) a ticket vending machine, said machine dispensing a ticket good for a trip of a given value on the transit system upon receipt of the fare for such trip;
(b) said ticket having a trip coding means and a time coding means;
(c) an entrance turnstile, said entrance turnstile coding said ticket trip coding means with indications of the entrance station and with the possible exit stations according to the value of the ticket, said entrance turnstile also coding said ticket time coding means with an indication of the time of presenting of said ticket, said entrance turnstile then unlocking to allow the passenger to enter the transit system;
(d) an exit turnstile, said exit turnstile accepting said ticket and checking said ticket to determine that said ticket trip coding means is properly coded for said exit turnstile, checking said time coding means to determine that the trip was taken in the allowed time and unlocking to allow exit from the transit system if said ticket checks correctly, said exit turnstile rejecting any said ticket which checks incorrectly.
4. An automatic fare collection system as claimed in claim 3 in which a special exit turnstile is provided, said special exit turnstile accepting said ticket rejected by said exit turnstile, said special exit turnstile determining the proper fare for improperly trip coded tickets, and allowing exit on payment of said proper fare, and said special exit turnstile accepting a predetermined amount for expired time tickets to allow exit from the transit system.
5. An automatic fare collection system for transit sys tems comprising:
(a) a ticket for use in the transit system, said ticket good for a trip of predetermined value on the transit system, said ticket having coding means according to said predetermined value;
( an ent ance turnstile, said entrance turnstile encoding said ticket coding means with an indication of the entrance station and with coded indications of the various exit stations possible according to the value of said ticket;
(0) an exit turnstile, said exit turnstile being actuated by said ticket after checking said ticket coding means to determine that said ticket coding means is properly coded for said exit turnstile 6. An automatic fare collection system as claimed in claim 5 in which a special exit turnstile is provided, said special exit turnstile being used with improperly coded tickets to determine extra fare due and on payment of said extra fare unlocking to allow exit from the transit system.
7. An automatic fare collection system as claimed in claim 5 in which a transfer vendor is provided, said transfer vendor actuated by said ticket to issue a transfer and to cancel said ticket for further transfer use.
8. An automatic fare collection system for transit systems comprising:
(a) a ticket for use in the transit system, said ticket good for a trip of given value on the transit system, said ticket having trip coding means and time coding means according to said given value;
(b) an entrance turnstile, said entrance turnstile encoding said ticket trip coding means with an indication of the entrance station and with coded indications of the various exit stations possible according to said given value of said ticket, said entrance turnstile also encoding said ticket time coding means with an indication of allowed trip time according to said given value of said ticket;
(c) an exit turnstile, said exit turnstile being actuated by said ticket after checking said ticket to determine that said ticket trip coding means is properly coded for said exit turnstile, and that the allowed time indicated by said ticket time coding means has not been exceeded.
9. An automatic fare collection system as claimed in claim 8 in which a special exit turnstile is provided, said special exit turnstile accepting said ticket which is improperly coded, computing the difference between said given value and another value proper for said exit turnstile and providing an indication of said difference.
10. An automatic fare collection system for transit systems comprising:
(a) a ticket vending machine, said machine dispensing a ticket good for a trip of given value on the transit system on receipt of the fare for such ticket;
(b) said ticket having a trip coding means and a time coding means;
(c) an entrance turnstile, said entrance turnstile encoding said ticket trip coding means with an indication of the entrance station and with coded indications of the various exit stations possible according to said given value of said ticket, said entrance turnstile also encoding said ticket time coding means with an indication of allowed time for a trip according to said given value of said ticket;
(d) an exit turnstile, said exit turnstile being actuated by said ticket after checking said ticket to determine that said ticket trip coding means is properly coded for said exit turnstile, and that the allowed time indicated by said ticket time coding means has not been exceeded.
SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3, 212,615
October 19, 1965 Martin W. Hellar, JrC
ent requiring correction and that corrected below.
Column 2, line 24,
for "tranisit" read transit column 4, line 43, for "dispersing" read dispensing column 5, line 5, for "turnstiles" read H turnstile Y llne 45 for "measured" read presented column 6, line 60, for "was" read were -fl Signed and sealed this 5th day of July 1966 iEAL) ttest:
iNEST W. SWIDER EDWARD J. BRENNER testing Officer Commissioner of Patents