De Lijn

Microblink & De Lijn team up to reduce fare evasion

Flemish public transport company equips inspectors with ID scanning devices to ensure everybody is in for a smooth ride.


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Flemish public transport company equips inspectors with ID scanning devices to ensure everybody is in for a smooth ride.
Hundreds of millions of passengers travel on board De Lijn buses and trams every year, but not all of them are paying for it.

Fare evasion is not only causing severe revenue losses for the Flemish transport giant, it’s also triggering a sense of inequity among the paying customers.

To better contain this behavior, De Lijn inspectors perform some 2 million ticket checks every year, 75,000 of which turn out to be fraud cases. Were it not for Microblink’s ID scanning technology, compiling reports of these cases would be a very tall order.

‘’BlinkID is useful in that it makes the job of our inspectors significantly easier,’’ Kirsten Van Dessel, Project Manager at De Lijn, says.

‘’Instead of typing in the offender’s information by hand, all they need to do is scan their ID and move onto the next passenger. It’s a faster, more efficient way of weeding out fare evaders and automating the fining process.’’

Minding the gap between physical and digital
The project was a joint effort between three companies: De Lijn as a client, Dioss as a system integrator and Microblink as a software provider.

‘’De Lijn entrusted us with developing an app that would, among other things, allow their inspectors to issue fines to fare evaders on the spot,’’ Pascal Lotiquet, Business Development Manager at Dioss Smart Solutions, says.

‘’A lot of Belgian IDs still don’t have NFC chips on them and neither do some other international IDs, which left a gap in our current system that had to be dealt with manually,’’ Mr. Lotiquet adds.

Taking the road less traveled
Steven Camps, Software Development Manager at Dioss who was involved with the integration, says moving away from NFC and going down the computer vision route has been a bit of a bumpy road.

‘’We first looked at some freeware but none of them performed very well. You’d scan a document and at best get a 60% success rate. Plus, the false positives were going through the roof,’’ Mr. Camps said.

‘’The reason we went with BlinkID is simple. The product quality far surpasses anything else we’ve tried. Having an accuracy rate just short of 100% means the fine won’t end up in the wrong letterbox. That, combined with AI autodetection of the document type was enough for us to make the call.

‘’On a side note, what we really liked about Microblink is that we’ve always had this feeling you’re in it to make our use case work out, not just close the sale. With a little help from your side, we were able to fully integrate BlinkID SDK in only two days.’’

Behind the screen of De Lijn mobile inspection devices
The final app runs on an Android OS and has everything a fare inspector needs to carry out his or her day-to-day work:

> A home screen with a list of tasks for the day.
> A ticket validation screen that lets the inspector scan a ticket to see whether a passenger is traveling legally.
> A violation screen that an inspector can use to scan an offender’s ID document and send a report to the back office over a secure 4G connection.

Ms. Van Dessel says impressions from the field are very positive. ‘’It’s been a couple of months since the launch and our inspectors are already pleased with BlinkID’s simplicity and ease of use,’’ she explains.

‘’It lets them do so much more than just control. They can create an accurate report within seconds without having to stop and spend a minute retyping personal information by hand.

‘’As a result, they’re able to move through their schedule more quickly, they’re less likely to make a typo while the bus is on the move and they can intervene faster in case of an argument or some other disturbance.’’

De Lijn’s case study goes to show just how versatile BlinkID is as a solution. Whether it’s by automating your business processes or elevating your user experience, intelligent ID scanning can transform the way you used to do things for the better.

Fare evasion is costing us hundreds of thousands of euros each year — money which could be better spent improving our service. With BlinkID, our fare inspectors are able to tackle fraud cases in a faster, more efficient way, thus reclaiming a good chunk of that lost revenue.
– Kirsten Van Dessel, Project manager at De Lijn

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