Posts Tagged: fare collection



Spare some change? Shangqiu, Henan (China) Public Transport

Imagine if your paycheque came in the form of dollar bills. This is how it'd look like. Image by

Fare collection in transit systems have evolved dramatically in the last decades with many large agencies opting for electronic payment systems such as the Oyster Card (London) and Octopus Card (Hong Kong). However, in many places around the world, many people who are unfamiliar with this form of payment still choose to pay using regular spare change.

In the city of Shangqiu, located in China’s Henan province, staff working in the public transit agency have received their wage straight from the farebox (literally) for the past 12 years (link in Chinese)! This might be absurd (and slightly amusing) but there are two perfectly logical reasons for this: 1) While a transportation card exists, the number of users adopting this system is minimal; and 2) Local banks aren’t willing to accept that much loose change.

So the result is workers taking home a stack of bills and coins. Judging from the smile of the employee pictured above, I guess receiving a wage in dollar bills is better than not receiving a wage at all.

I'd hate to be the one responsible for sorting that out by hand. Image by

This brings several things to question: what is the farebox recovery of this transit system in Shangqiu? And are employees paid a fixed income or do their salaries fluctuate based on the amount of paying riders?

While this would obviously never happen here in North America, I can’t help but imagine what the results would be if this were to occur in the US and Canada. Better service? Poorer service? You be the judge.

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