Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not So Tickety-Boo

Bus Ticket Machine

So it's goodbye to the Bus Ticket machines that have graced Edinburgh's streets for the last few years.

Lothian Buses say that the "trial period" is now at an end, and since absolutely everyone now has ridacards (I don't) then there's no point in keeping the machines.

Oh, and they've reached the end of their life anyway.

Huh? I think someone's telling porkies on that last one. The machine on Gorgie Road has never let me down. Although solar-powered, it has provided tickets during fair weather and foul to a great many people.

I'm in favour of anything which helps more people use public transport. And I'm particularly in favour of these machines - the tickets were 10p cheaper than if you bought on-board!


Douglas McLellan said...

I used one twice in the last two years. And that was because I only had the £1.10 in change at the time. I usually bus hop so a day ticket worked for me. The number of people with passes of some type is huge so I can see why, on a cost v. benefits analysis, these machines are being discontinued.

And I never saw anyone else use them.

Now, if they can extend the Ridacard into an oyster type scheme I would be happy.

Lindsay Ashford said...

When these were introduced we were told that it was to get everyone used to getting a ticket before boarding, as this is quicker then using cash and is how the trams will operate. Surely the efficiency argument still stands, but maybe we don't have to be trained for the trams now.

Also, a Ridacard is only cost effective if you make more than 38 journeys, so to fair weather cyclists or those who don't work five days a week it's cheaper to buy tickets per journey.

Anyway, I agree with Douglas. An Oyster Card type of scheme would be ideal.

Michael said...

For the money it might take to remove them, I say they should stay. I've not seen any mention of the cost of removal but it won't be free. If they're solar powered too, what's to lose? They don't *really* clutter the streets in my opinion. Plus when I was a student, saving 10p seriously was a total bonus.

I said...

The machines should stay until an oyster-esque payment system is introduced. That the buses only allow infrequent travellers to pay in exact change onboard is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

For the bus system it turned out to be less efficient - but only because someone had decreed that the driver had to punch a fiddly little hole in each ticket. Every other country with this kind of system (that I've known of) omits this step. There's the buy before you board and then trust-people-but-big-fine-if-caught system or the punch-your-own-ticket system (often combined with the big-fine system). This is a classic system-change problem - the change would only make sense if the whole system changes - you can't easily bring the change in a bit at a time and have it making sense.

Despairing said...

I agree with Anonymous - the step of having the driver stamp the ticket made no sense and defeated the purpose of speeding up boarding times.

I've also said previously that the Scottish Government missed a trick when it introduced the National Entitlement Card for pensioners and teenagers/students. They should have had an oyster-type smartcard technology inbuilt, and everyone in the country handed one with interoperability from Lerwick to Berwick