Better fareboxes, or "The sky is falling!"

My employer is finally upgrading the fareboxes for their buses. I guess being the iPod generation, I see a lot of practical improvements to the revamped fareboxes. But if you heard some of my older co workers, the sky is falling. They gave every operator a mandatory 1 hour training session for these new doodads. Most of it is pretty straightforward- If someone wants to ride the bus all day, they put X dollars in, you push a specific button and a special card is printed and pops out. The card has some kind of chip/RFID/etc where they can simply swipe it on the farebox of any other bus/light rail. I like it because it spares us the argument about whether their fare media is valid or not; if the machine says its legit, its legit.

But to our technophobic colleagues, this is the end of the world.

You see, there are buttons to let you print out passes in the event the person doesn’t have enough money. This is to let someone buy one in the event of an error (the machine registers a $5 as a $1 for example) or if they are a penny short and you are feeling sympathetic that day. Our policy isn’t super strict about giving out free passes as long as its not abused, but some of our operators are paranoid that management is doing this to ‘spy’ on them :dubious:

I guess I missed out on the Wild West days of driving a bus, when the buses weren’t equipped with CCTVs, the operators weren’t required to physically secure wheelchairs in, and nobody got in trouble for refusing to board brown people :rolleyes: . In a way I feel grateful I started this job when I did, because it makes me flexible, more considerate, and enjoy my job more.

Then again 25 years from now when people pay with a thumb print I may be screaming bloody murder at the implications :smiley:

Wait, how is it possible to be one penny short for the fare? Does your system accept pennies?

Chicago has been using RFID chipped cards for, what, at least a decade now? Drivers still don’t understand how they work. I had one card before my current one that didn’t read reliably. Drivers would tell me to rub it on my pants, or they would take it from me and rub it on their pants, convinced that it helped the card read better.

More likely, the chip was damaged from the card getting bent a little in my bag.

A more direct question for the OP: Won’t all that card distributing on the bus delay boarding significantly? The CTA doesn’t do on-board card distribution, people have to get the fare cards from El stations or grocery stores, currency exchanges, and the like (or get the RFID cards with an internet account like mine). People are dumb enough about fares, I can’t imagine how much delay would occur if the drivers had to dispense the fare cards, too.

The fare box prints it out, takes like 2 seconds. We’re still in the stone ages- this new system is replacing plain paper media.

the fare box also accepts cash. It even can recognize a 2 dollar bill!

One pet peeve is that one section of the farebox has a card swipe doodad. This is supposed to recognize magnetic fare media from other counties. but I just know everyone will assume you can pay via credit card.

Don’t tell them otherwise. Just look at them sympathetically and say the card was declined.

If they are the same as the ones in use in Vancouver, yes, they do. (I only know this because a stray penny ended up with my fare one day, and it registered $2.76 before the ticket was dispensed.)

I would think that drivers would* love* these. It never occurred to me that the “freebie” issue would be a worry for them. I still don’t see the big deal - if you are worried about being “audited” for being over-generous, then just let the freeloader on and don’t dispense a ticket.

Every time I’ve been given a “free ride,” it’s because the zone upgrade has been bypassed on a route that doesn’t actually cross the zone boundary, but just goes along the boundary road for a while before turning back into the original zone. Pretty sensible.

I came up with the phrase Eddytow for acronym ETDITOHW for Easier To Do It The Old Hard Way.

I like watching peoples’ resistance to change. It’s so funny.