Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In Unimportant News (Gotta Maintain Our Healthy Obsessions)

My local transit authority has a mess of a fare system. I won't bore you with the history, but roughly speaking, when the suburban commuter rail lines were going belly up the Feds made the city transit company take them over, which they didn't want to do. Then there was a strike which cut commuter rail passengers, long term, by about a third. Since then the system has mostly been kept together with bubblegum and twine, with the occasional cash infusion. Now (at least for now) there's more of a dedicated revenue stream. It's complicated -there are subways, buses, trolleys, very old light rail systems, commuter rail, etc.

Anyway, for years they've been working to replace the antiquated fare system (not just antiquated, but really inconvenient). It's been delayed and delayed for some of the usual reasons, in part because they seemed to be obsessed with maintaining the current complicated fare structure, and probably in part because the people designing it don't have enough actual user experience to know what they're doing. They're finally rolling it out slowly. Still doesn't work for the commuter rail system, but it works for some intra-city passes and now as a declining balance card to replace the token system. Got my card! It actually works!