Breeze Card

Breeze Card

Infobox electronic payment | | name= Breeze Card | location= Atlanta, Georgia | launched= 2006 | service_1= MARTA Rapid Rail | service_2= MARTA Bus| service_3= | service_4= | service_5= | service_6=
service_7= | sales_location_1= Breeze Vending Machines | sales_location_2= Online | sales_location_3= | sales_location_4= | currency= USD | stored_value= | credit_expiry=
variant_1= Extended-Use Card
variant_2= Limited-Use Ticket
technology_1= RFID
manager= MARTA

The Breeze Card is a stored value smart card that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system which the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) introduced to the general public in early October 2006. [ [ Breeze Card Official Site] ] The card automatically debits the cost of the passenger’s ride when placed on or near the Breeze Target at the fare gate. Transit riders are able to add value or time-based passes to the card at Breeze Vending Machines (BVM) located at all MARTA stations. The major phases of MARTA's Breeze transformation took place before July 1, 2007. Before July 1, 2007, customers were still able to purchase TransCards from ridestores or their employers. They were also able to obtain paper transfers from bus drivers to access the train. As of July 1 the TransCard and the paper transfers have been discontinued. All patrons must now have a Breeze Card or Ticket to access the system (except for single bus rides, which can still be paid for in exact change), and all transfers are loaded on the card. Breeze Vending Machines (BVM) now distribute regional transit provider passes (providing that the requested system has completed their transformation to the Univeral Breeze AFC.) The Breeze Card employs passive RFID technology currently in use in Washington D.C, Chicago, Boston (the CharlieCard), Hong Kong (the Octopus Card), Seoul, Singapore, Santiago (the Multivia), and London (the Oyster card).

Overview of Breeze

The Breeze system uses a two card scheme: the Ticket will be used by people that are visiting, and other light users, and is composed of coated paper around the RFID antenna. The Card is meant for those that use MARTA frequently and need to load time-based passes. This card will be registrable online at the Breeze site. A rider using the system would approach the gate, tap the card to the blue circle 'target' and walk through as the gate opens. The card can be kept in a wallet and still read, and won't interfere with credit cards, but will with other RFID cards, like work IDs. MARTA riders are advised to keep different RFID cards apart when trying to open the fare gate, as placing them close together makes them effectively useless.

Infrequent riders such as visitors and tourists who do not opt for the permanence of the Breeze Card will most likely use the Breeze Ticket (to avoid paying the US $5.00 fee for the purchase of a plastic Breeze Cards). However, a 50-cent charge is added to the cost of a new Breeze Ticket to cover the cost of the ticket. Ticket holders need to keep their card for the duration of their journey, as the Breeze Ticket will be required to 'tap out' of stations, as well as to encode free transfers to MARTA buses and other regional transit systems that use the RFID technology.

History of Breeze conversion

In preparation for the Breeze Card, MARTA initially deployed the Breeze Ticket, a limited-use paper stored value card. During the installation phase (December 2005-September 2006) MARTA installed the new Breeze gates in all stations, new bus fare boxes, and Breeze Vending Machines "BVMs", in which individuals can buy Tickets encoded with one ride. MARTA first implemented Breeze at the Bankhead station in December 2005. System wide installation of Breeze (both train stations and buses) was completed in early September, making MARTA the first system in the United States to move towards only smart cards for fare. [ [ Cubic Awarded MARTA Contract] ]

Currently the BVM's continue to accept MARTA tokens allowing riders to convert tokens into Breeze Tickets. Starting October 6, patrons will be allowed to purchase Breeze Cards (which expire four years after first use) [ [ Reloadable Transit Cards Arrive] ] for free until July 2007, when there will be a US$5 charge thereafter, and reload Breeze Tickets (they expire ninety days after purchase). Now, the BVMs provide patrons with the ability to check a card's balance, and pay for parking at select stations. [ [ Atlanta's contactless transit card to add parking payments] ] The BVMs currently accept credit cards and cash for payment.

The system will stop selling tokens in the late fall, but magnetic weekly and monthly MARTA cards will be sold until July 2007; when magnetic cards will be invalidated permanently; and the MARTA Breeze system will be complete. Cards became available by mail to customers that pre-ordered starting September 30th. As the system reaches its final phase, MARTA will host "token exchanges"(October-December), allowing for people with rolls of tokens to have the number of tokens encoded on an extended-use card.

Beginning May 2007 MARTA will charge a 50 cent surcharge on all Breeze Tickets. July 2007 MARTA will also stop offering free Breeze Cards through and order forms from MARTA Ride Stores. [ [ Breeze, The New Way to Pay] ] Magnetic cards will be invalidated permanently and MARTA will consider the Breeze system complete.

MARTA has indicated that July 2007 pay per boarding is scheduled to begin. At that time, all customers will have to pay with a Breeze Card, Ticket or cash. Transfers will only be available on Breeze fare media – no paper transfers or bus to rail magnetic transfers will be issued. When this happens, to transfer free to MARTA you will need to use a Breeze Card or Breeze Ticket because MARTA will no longer be accepting paper transfers or bus to rail transfers.

Benefits over old token-based system

MARTA's Breeze will allow riders to load money on the card for use over time, and to add 7- and 30-day passes that are not fixed to a calendar period. [ [ Breeze FAQ] ] The new system will provide a better way for MARTA to analyze transit patterns, allowing for schedule changes to suit demand and will free up more staff to work directly with customers in stations. Breeze will also prevent fare evasion (which costs MARTA an estimated US$10 million). [ [ MARTA Plugs Gap in New Station Gates] ]

The upgrade to Breeze has also resulted in a complete replacement of all fare gates and token-based system. The previous system was subject to entrance without payment, as a low turnstile permitted "turnstile jumping" and a handicapped gate could easily be opened by reaching over to push the exit bar. The next system offers taller gates and cannot be opened from the outside without first paying. Additionally the old system was unreliable and often did not accept valid passes or tokens. The age of the old system made maintenance and repair difficult. MARTA has promised that the new gates will be more reliable, although the fare gates frequently malfunction.

Future potential

The new system will allow MARTA to consider using exit fares and distance-based fares and charging more for longer rides. However, MARTA has stated it has no current plans to implement any changes to its existing flat one-way fare policy.

Other transit systems have expressed interest in expanding the Breeze infrastructure to take advantage of seamless transfers as provided by their reciprocal agreements with MARTA. The first system to adopt Breeze is Cobb Community Transit, which plans to implement Breeze along with MARTA's timeline.

On July 18, 2007 MARTA enforced the "Tap to Exit" policy requiring passengers to Tap their cards or tickets against the outgoing (inside station) sensor of the gate in order for it to open. While the policy has always been advertised on the fare gates, the gates would previously open up if a person walked up from the inside. The "Tap to Exit" policy is to enable patrons to first and foremost obtain an electronic transfer, reduce fare evasion by making it more difficult for someone to enter a gate opened for exiting, prevent patrons from allowing multiple use of the breeze card by breeze "knowing" that they have not tapped to exit, condition the public with "Tap to Exit" in preparation for any system of exit fares / fare zones or destination based fares, identify how many people are on the system at any given time (useful in a major emergency), or simply compile exit statistics for stations in order to better calculate ridership by station, line' and train.


The pilot installation of the system at the Bankhead station created controversy when it was discovered the fare gates ended fifteen inches (380 mm) from the ground, allowing fare evaders to crawl underneath the gates. One of the main reasons for MARTA upgrading its fare system was to eliminate fare evasion. The issue has since been corrected with the attachment of plastic bars to the bottom of the gates, reducing the gap to six inches (150 mm) and virtually eliminating the possibility of fare evaders crawling through it.

Though the problem of people sliding through the bottom of each gate has been solved, there have been people abusing the system's inability to track individual magnetic cards and transfers. The old system would block the magnetic weekly and monthly transit cards for fifteen minutes after use. The new system, on the other hand, allows one time-based magnetic cards to be used for multiple people. Incidents have also been noted in which people trick the sensors to believe that a person is exiting a station while actually entering.Fact|date=February 2007

MARTA has advertised Breeze as the first all smart-card system in the US, however they still plan to allow cash on the bus. This will also create a situation where riders who do not need to transfer can pay $1.75 cash on the bus without the $0.50 extra for a Breeze ticket or $1.50 extra for a Breeze card that would be required for the train or transfers.

ee also

* Octopus card - Hong Kong
* MetroCard - New York City Subway
* SmarTrip - Washington D.C. Metrorail
* Suica - Japan Rail
* PASMO - Tokyo Underground
* CharlieCard - Boston MBTA
* Oyster Card (London)
* EZ-Link, (Singapore)
* List of smart cards


External links

* [ Breeze Card website]
* [ MARTA website]

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