No need for punch cards or tokens. Many agencies have already reaped the benefits by utilizing Ecolane's free Diminishing Balance feature, also known as the prepaid balance feature. With the prepaid balance feature, agencies can offer their clients the option to pay trip fares from their balance. The fares of both the client and their accompanying passengers can be paid from the client’s balance, and it is also possible to use the balance to pay a part of the fare. A negative balance can provide flexibility for payments.

Why is it successful?

Ecolane's Diminishing Balance Feature reduces administrative responsibilities by:

  • enabling contactless payment
  • reducing staff time spent on collecting payment from farebox systems
  • reducing the amount of time spent counting farebox payments and handling money
  • reducing loss of revenue from theft and fraud
  • providing additional safety measures for customers and drivers to reduce the spread of viruses

From dispatching and scheduling, to drivers and customers, all can benefit from this feature. 

"We are committed to providing solutions for our transit partners.  While this year has presented many challenges, we are grateful for the opportunity to offer our clients creative solutions, like the Diminishing Balance Feature and really showcase what Ecolane, both software, and staff, can do,” said Kelly Coughlin-Tran, Director of Marketing.  

A client's prepaid balance is managed as part of the client's account. The full transaction history is available in order to keep track of changes to the balance. Whether these are fare payment is for trips, balance deposits, balance deductions made by agency users, or corrections to the amounts paid, all of the fare amounts are archived. 

Shoreline Metro saves time and money with Diminishing Balance Feature

On a recent call Derek Muench, Director of Parking & Transit at City of Sheboygan - Shoreline Metro, describes in painstaking detail the challenges where customers would lose or forget tokens and drivers would have to go into their tablets and change the default to a free trip. Everyday those tokens would  accumulate and end up having to be repackaged into pouches. 

"Our process previously was to use punch cards for our ADA trips and tokens for our other programs. It was an administrative nightmare. Social Service Agency case managers spent a significant amount of time dealing with this issue. They were all saying we wish we didn’t have to drive tokens around,” said Muench.


There is also a  safety concern in terms of drivers handling large amounts of cash when selling bundles of tokens. During COVID-19 it became paramount that agencies find contactless forms of payment to protect their riders and agency staff.

When the balance option came in and after we talked to our largest social service agency customer and our concerns about the tokens, yes, we can add all of this to the balance and they never have to pay a token when they board the bus- their eyes got huge when they heard that," said Muench.

Immediately after utilizing the Diminishing Balance Feature, Shoreline Metro saw positive results by eliminating tokens altogether. Aside from a few comments, everybody responded well to this

“I think this is one of your greatest features. It is a hidden gem. I think it is awesome. Customers never were fearful of it and there is a lot of opportunity to keep them educated in the process and make them aware of their balances. When we linked it to safety and said, 'Hey guys, we don’t want to be distributing tokens or money to you that risks spreading any germs or viruses,' they appreciated hearing that,” said Muench.

Ecolane's Prepaid Balance Feature is available on all devices. Streamlining your operations and additional safety measures with contactless payment are key reasons to activate your prepaid customer balance accounts. 

"Honestly, we would not be able to do what we’re doing right now without this feature,” said Muench.


If you would like access to the Ecolane Prepaid Balance Feature or learn more about this benefit to Ecolane customers, please email  


About the Author:

ashleeAshlee is a Marketing Coordinator with more than 15 years of business experience.  She is responsible for assisting the Director of Marketing and the Business Development team.

Ashlee has a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Skilled in Team Motivation, Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, Social Media Optimization (SMO), and Microsoft Office. She has a Bachelor of Arts - BA focused on Journalism from Temple University.