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The bus pulls to a stop. There's only a couple of people waiting to get on, so it shouldn't take long at- oh dear, it's looks like someone needs to find the right change. Just give them a minute, OK? Well, they've finally managed to sort that out. Now the person behind them has to figure out what stop
they want to get off at, so the driver can figure out how much to charge them...
Rather than dealing with such hassle, just scan your prepaid card when you get on the bus, and again when you get off. The bus driver will of course be watching you to make sure you do so when you board, but it shouldn't take more than a couple of seconds. Cards cost £5, and you'll have to pay to get them unlocked if they don't register as having left the bus. Any negative fare will render the card unusable until it's paid off. You can top up your card online, in selected stores, using ticket machines, or by mobile.
The company that operates this service will take a cut, perhaps 2.5%, of all transactions. Transport operators will be able to provide deals for their customers, say a 25% extra top up for students, members of the Armed Forces, and NHS workers. It is advised they ensure their is a separate entrance and exit available on their vehicles, to ensure passengers are not delayed by those exiting.
I'm aware this is likely mostly baked, though I do not think as thoroughly as I would like. I'm envisioning this system being used for trams and lightly used railway lines mainly, where 20-30 people could be boarding at once but there isn't enough demand to justify the cost of ticket barriers and a conductor would render the service unprofitable.
||//I'm aware this is likely mostly baked//
||Uh, yes, for at least the last decade. If you have an Oystercard, you can use it to travel on buses, the underground, mainline trains, the Emirates cablecar and trams (yes, there are apparently still some) within the Greater London area. You just touch-in and touch-out, and top up your card as necessary.
||I presume you're from the US?
||Is Oyster an off the shelf service? If I wanted to set up a Carnforth Metro service, would it be possible to equip a few midibuses with them and get going?
||Most payment systems in America are primitive, and as
they are as insular and dim brained as North Korea, it's no
surprise that smart card payments like the Oyster are
||//No, from up north. // Crikey - how far up?
||//Is Oyster an off the shelf service? If I wanted to set up a Carnforth Metro service...// No idea. It's a huge network, because ticket gates at tube stations; bus entrances; and all other Oysterable locations have readers.
||I think if I were going to do something similar today, I'd make it phone-based instead.
||Anyway, if you're from up north, I think the midibuses alone will totally blow people's minds, even without Oystercards.
||Carnforth (hence the Carnforth Metro). Almost in Cumbria.
||My thinking was triggered by the decision of Lancashire County Council to stop subsidising bus routes. There is/was talk about parishes running buses, I think an off-the-shelf payment system would definitely help. But it was also influenced by thinking about opportunities to utilise the spare capacity on railway lines (bring back Hest Bank railway station!), or for new systems that serve small towns. Ticket barriers would be expensive, and conductors even more so, but having everyone buy a ticket off the driver would be time consuming. Much faster to simply have the driver verify that people have scanned their smartcard whilst boarding. But for a small operation, it wouldn't make sense to develop a system like Oyster from scratch.
||Ah Carnforth, close to glorious Morecombe where the dead are buried standing up in bus stops. No need for bus passes in the after life.
||I think they call it "weekly capping", [Ian].
||I heard that TfL developed the contactless tube payment system in-house. One of the quoted benefits of doing so is that they can license the technology to other transport networks. Perhaps Carnforth Metro should get in touch.
||Hmmm. Valid point about smartphones. Should be a lot cheaper and simpler to implement than a smartcard system, although perhaps harder for those who get subsidised transit at other people's expense to use.
||San Diego has Monthly bus/trolley pass. Unlimited riding. Discount if old or infirm. No tapping on or off. Most wear around neck so driver can see as you board.
||Ireland, north and south, has free public transport for all
those aged over 65. This results in OAPs tap dancing on and
||// Now the person behind them has to figure out
what stop they want to get off at, so the driver can
figure out how much to charge them //
||That situation sounds absurd to me, for reasons that
should become clear soon.
||In Calgary, we tried a card payment system a few years
ago and it was a huge failure (due to mismanagement
by the company they contracted to build it or
something like that). Now they're trying to try it
again, with phones this time.
||This is the current system:
||One single fare, which costs $3.25 for adults, lasts 90
minutes, during which time you can ride as much as
you want. If you want to go to a store (25-minute trip
each way), spend 30 minutes shopping there, and go
home, that's only one fare. If you want to take a 90-
minute scenic route for what would otherwise be a
30-minute trip, that's fine too. This is in contrast to
Toronto, where one fare is one ride, no matter how
short, and you are obligated to take the most direct
route available. (Toronto also has custom-made metal
coins that you buy and then use to pay for transit
||At the train stations, there are ticket vending
machines, which take change and debit/credit cards,
as well as Apple Pay (a recent addition), and give you a
thermally printed paper ticket. You can buy
"prepurchased tickets", which look totally different
(commercially color printed on thick paper), in
booklets of 10, costing $32.50 (no volume discount,
which annoys me), at various drug, grocery, and
convenience stores. There are also validators at the
stations, where you stick one of your prepurchased
tickets into a slot and it stamps the date/time on it.
Either way, you now have a ticket with the date/time
printed on it, which you can use on both the train and
||On the bus, you can drop $3.25 cash into the farebox
(exact change preferred; if necessary the driver can
write you a voucher which you can redeem for change
at a Calgary Transit Customer Service Centre, of
which there are only two, two blocks apart,
downtown), or drop one unvalidated prepurchased
ticket torn out of your booklet in the farebox, or
show the driver a prevalidated ticket (one from a
TVM, or a prepurchased one that you stuck in a
validator), when you get on. If your trip will be longer
than this one bus, you can get a transfer from the
driver, which is a slip of newspaper-type paper torn
off so as to indicate time you boarded. You show this
to the driver of the next bus, and if it was torn off less
than 90 minutes ago, they let you on. (It's torn longer
later in the day, so if you try to cheat by tearing yours
shorter than the driver did, you'll only make it less
valid.) Also, the driver only checks that you still have
some of your 90 minutes remaining when you get on;
once you're on, you can stay on as long as you want
(unless the bus goes out of service, and the relief bus's
driver happens to check fares, which they usually
don't in that situation) (but to get on another route
you'll have to pay again if your first fare expired).
||On the train, nobody so much as asks if you paid
most of the time. Probably many people regularly ride
for free. Occasionally, though, a pair of Transit Peace
Officers will come through the train and ask to see
everybody's fares (tickets/passes/transfers). If you
don't have one to show them, they'll kick you off and
give you a $200 ticket (the bad kind of ticket).
||In addition to single 90-minute fares, you can get a
day pass for $10.00 (a TVM exclusive), or a monthly
pass for $101.00 (available at some of the same stores
as the ticket booklets, as well as Calgary Transit
Customer Service Centres), both of which entitle you
to unlimited riding until the end of the day (actually
after midnight, when the bus routes end) or month. If
you're currently a full-time postsecondary student,
you can get a UPass, which lasts four months, and is a
sticker that goes on your student ID. It's free to get
one, because you already paid $130/semester as part of
your school fees. If you are on a low/fixed income, you
can get the low-income monthly pass, which is
currently (as of this month) on a sliding scale
depending on how low your income is, but I saw
something in the news recently about making it
$5/month (yes, just five dollars) for all low-income
people. If you are 65 or older, you can get a yearly pass
for somewhere between $95 and $135, depending on
the current year and your birth month. If you are
both on a low income and 65 or older, it seems there's
also a discount for that but I can't find out what it is.
If you are 17 or younger, you can get single fares for
$2.25, day passes for $7.00, and monthly passes for
$65. If you are 21 or younger and still in high school
and carrying a student ID, you can get the youth
discount on single fares only. If you are 5 or younger,
or a pet, you can ride for free.
||(Also, this is all subsidized by municipal taxes.
Sometimes people complain that they're paying for
transit that they never use, but they are always
quickly rebutted with the argument that they do
benefit from transit even though they don't ride it,
because it's how their employees/customers/etc. get
to them. Also, the UPass is a volume-discount thing
where it's that cheap because all students have to pay
for it, which causes some annoyance among the
driving students, but the schools counter that with
arguments like "in case your car breaks down".)
||It sounds like an incredibly complicated and
confusing system, but once you've used it a few times,
it becomes easy to understand. I never hear anybody
complain about it (apart from the tax subsidy and
UPass). They are going to consider moving to tap-
on/tap-off and zone-based fares with the new
smartphone payment system, though.
||The transit system in Perth is tap-on and tap-off. The main
difficulty is forgetting to tap-off.