Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Putting a bandaid on a tumor

Yes, Clipper on Caltrain again.

The fare readers at the stations have been emblazoned with little signs.

This one says "Always have $1.25 on your card".

Problem solved! Next! @BayAreaClipper on Twitpic

The other side of the box says "Don't forget to tag off".

Of course, if you don't have $1.25 on your card, you can't do anything about it at the time you see the sign. This, in theory will be fixed.

If you see the fare reader, you really don't need to read the sign that says "Don't forget to tag off", by the time you have focused on the fare reader itself, the little additional message isn't really going to change things. If Caltrain wants to "address" the tagging off issue, they need to stop hiding the fare readers.

This is what @caltrain thinks of their @bayareaclipper users ... on Twitpic

At the far end of this picture is where I got off @Caltrain a... on Twitpic

Caltrain is also using the bandwidth on their platform LED signs on these reminders, as well as training their conductors to make these reminders.

Of course, as I have said, the problem is the fare structure itself. It would be far simpler to have people think "I need to have enough cash on my card to pay for my ride". If they do, then they have at least $2.50 - the lowest Caltrain fare - which is more than $1.25. Get rid of eight rides, problem mostly solved. Simplify loading of a Monthly pass - if a rider has purchased a monthly pass, don't "start" a trip when they tag on - just activate the pass and be done with it. If they want to go "further" on that trip, right now they could buy a paper upgrade, later they should be able to tag on again, indicating an open ended trip beyond their monthly pass, with Clipper calculating the upgrade when they tag off.

If you put a million bandaids on a tumor - you still have a tumor, and you spent all your chemotherapy budget on bandaids.

If they refuse to change the fare structure, and want to spend money on reminders, there's probably a better way. Give one of these to all the conductors and after they scan people's cards, they can give a "Complimentary Tag Off Reminder" for people to tie around their fingers.

Blue Yarn


djconnel said...

They'll need to hire a consulting firm then apply for capital investment grant funding for a trial study, then beginning formal bidding prior to wool acquisition.

bradtaft said...