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24 Smartcard Interoperability Issues for the Transit Industry before being "hot listed" (or negative listed) needs to be covered. Agencies must be comfortable that these liabilities present acceptable risks. Strategies for Overcoming Risk Factors The risk of adopting features such as autoload and balance protection can be further defined by developing cost models that quantify these features in terms of cost versus economic benefit. Both of these features are as much an agency benefit as a patron benefit. For example, patrons who under- stand that balance protection can alleviate the concern of losing a card's stored value are more likely to embrace the fare payment system. This may, in turn, increase transaction volume and shift more fare collection to electronic media and away from cash, thus resulting in cost savings. A similar case may be made for autoload, whereby the adoption of the feature lowers the use of traditional vending equipment, resulting in lower maintenance and cash-handling costs. The risk of autoload to the participating agencies may be further mitigated through the adoption of the pre-funded model. However, the pre-funded autoload transaction is a more complicated and less patron-convenient transaction given that it may be a two-step process. 2.3 Patron Impact Issues The rollout of an interoperable smartcard-based fare payment system introduces technologies and policies that are likely to be new and unfamiliar to the transit patron. The business case for the fare payment system depends heavily on the level of acceptance by the patrons. For these rea- sons, the implementation needs to consider three key areas affecting the patron: Technology, New processes, and Convenience. 2.3.1 Technology Most transit ridership has not been exposed to smartcard technology, which is a new medium for payment. Patrons already familiar with magnetic media and stored value of pass products will find the conversion less of an inconvenience. When introducing a new fare payment system, resistance to change must be anticipated and mitigation measures must be implemented. World- wide experience has proven that transit users embrace contactless smartcard technology because of its ease of use. A few riders are hesitant to use the card because of concerns about privacy resulting from a lack of understanding of how the data are used. Additionally, features such as autoload, which benefit both the cardholder and the participating agencies, require educating the ridership on the benefits provided. 2.3.2 New Processes Depending on the type of service model implemented, cardholders who require assistance with their cards may be required to call a separate service center and not the transit agency. Although this approach can provide an efficient and consistent level of service across a region for card-related issues, it can create confusion for cardholders. The decentralized customer service approach often minimizes this confusion to the cardholder because the patron would continue to call the agency. However, an agency would probably have to increase customer service staffing levels. A compromise of these approaches may lie in having the cardholder call the agency directly and then having the agency forward the call to a central service center. This would allow for a centralized customer service and maintain the convenience of agency contact for the cardholder.