Human Transit: portland: TriMet's new mobile ticketing app reviewed (guest post)
This telephone app is indeed a positive development for Trimet riders who for years have suffered the horrible Trimet ticket machines and the brutality of Trimet's policy forcing riders to get off at other stations and buy tickets if the machines are not working at the embarking station.
That truly is a fascist policy if there ever was one, placing the responsibility on the rider to cover for Trimet's failures.
So in that respect this is a giant step forward.
I do have some problems with this however.
First there are ex trimet executives that stand to make a quite a bit of money from this. I am never pleased to see ex government officials enter into that 'revolving door' of public/private enterprise.
These connected people (already wealthy) get themselves richer from their inside connections, its a societal problem but should not be so readily acceptable.
Secondly as the author noted, many people do not have a smart phone, those people will still have to suffer the brutality of the TVM policy. Trimet has created a sub class of riders now, transit equity this is not. This is another example of catering to the so called 'choice rider' which is code for UPPER CLASS WHITE PEOPLE.
Third, Trimet has been paying for all the advertising for this. Since when is it appropriate for a government agency to use tax funds to advertise a 'for profit' company?
Fourth, the hype was way over the top. Completely blown up into some sort of major earthshaking event which it is not. Mobile ticketing has been around for a long long time, especially in Europe and it is used at other transit districts here in America. Sure Trimet is the first to allow it on its buses and trains instead of just the trains. But the reason for that is Trimet is a relatively small system compared to places like NY or Boston. Those places have multitudes of fares and many different types of services. Trimet basically has only 3 fares, Disabled, Youth, and Adult, and only two types of services, bus and max (WES doesn't count its ridership is so tiny and its fare is the same)
And we shall see how long it takes for some highly intelligent computer geek to counterfeit this software into a look a like app. Are the fare inspectors going to have time to scan all the QR codes for each person that has this app to verify it? I doubt it.