[LINK] Vic transport smartcard to cost $1bn

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Wed Feb 6 12:34:28 EST 2008

On Wed, Feb 06, 2008 at 10:58:55AM +1000, Russell Ashdown wrote:
> Tom Worthington wrote:
>> The Victorian system seemed to be workable when I tried it 
>> <http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2007/05/victorian-public-transport-contactless.html>.
>> But transport smartcard projects frequently have problems, where the 
>> transport companies fail to rationalize their fee structure before 
>> implementation. We should not be surprised that the Sydney one has failed, 
>> or that the Victorian one appears to be about to, but that some, such as 
>> Perth, seemed to have worked
> This trivialises the problem with implementing a system-wide integrated 
> ticketing system over multi modes of transportation.  The problems stem 
> from the many permutations of trips that may be taken by commuters and the 
> need for each commuter to "touch-on" and "touch-off".  It's a fact that 

[lots of good points deleted ]

the amazing thing, to me, is that it's almost impossible to see where
the actual value in a system like this is. what benefit does it give
- to anyone, but especially to the public transport users? more
importantly, what benefit does it give that's actually worth hundreds of
millions of dollars (or over $1bn with all the stuffups)?

IMO, it's a lot like e-voting. no benefit to anyone at all *except*
for those flogging the system and those who want to exploit the
system's flaws. worse, it introduces several new failure modes and an
unneccessary dependancy on fickle new technlogy.

there's only two reasons i can see which would be driving the push for
these overly-complicated computerised ticketing systems:

1. corporate welfare - hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars
transferred from taxpayers to corporate coffers.  privatising public
wealth is, after all, what governments exist for.

2. ubiquitous monitoring & surveillance, tracking people's movements
in real time. it works for e-tag tollways, it'll work just as well for
trams, trains, and buses.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

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