Singapore’s AFC system, developed using RFID, saves check-in time at train stations

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In a new system called the automatic fare collection (AFC), developed in Singapore, commuters can walk directly to train platforms without having to swipe a card or wait for a gate to open.

There is no manual ticket gate in the system of ST Engineering. Instead, a passenger carries a long-range Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) wristband, card or key-tag across a barrier that appears green or red depending on whether the passenger has paid to travel.

While the current MRT fare gate system takes about 1.5 seconds to process each commuter, ST Engineering’s new AFC system takes less than a second.

Bernard Chow, senior vice president of the ST Engineering’s large scale systems group, said: “There is higher throughput, and you can get more people through the station faster.”

If a passenger walk through without carry an RFID tag or a payment device, a red light lights up the gates and the passenger’s face is photographed. The data can then be used for enforcement actions. “It’s based on a system of honor,” Mr. Chow said.

ST Engineering’s hands-free AFC system is among various new technologies and services being showcased with about 100 exhibitors at the SITCE at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Mr Chan said, in order to improve the reliability of the railways, the LTA paid more attention to long-term operational and maintenance considerations.

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