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Thread: Edmonton Transit Service’s cash-only fare system lags behind other cities

  1. #1
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    Default Edmonton Transit Service’s cash-only fare system lags behind other cities

    Edmonton Transit Service’s cash-only fare system lags behind other cities

    Like the one person said - time to get into the 21st century there, Edmonton.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    It's frustrating to anybody from out of town. I think Edmonton Transit is probably concerned that poor people would be shut out.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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    Total embarrassment. We will be 10 years behind Calgary if they can stick to their goal and who is betting on that? They should have something up and running before the valley line opens otherwise they will have to put cash machines at the new stations and who knows if anyone makes them anymore.
    “Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity,”-Marshall McLuhan

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    I don’t understand how something so common could be so difficult for the CoE to figure out. Then again then can’t figure out a lot of things so who the hell am I to judge?!?!

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    Edmonton Transit will get blamed if it doesn’t act as a social service. We should have people tapping cards to get on the train.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

  6. #6

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    Maybe ETS could learn how card payment services work in the real world like from Dollarama or your local self serve gas pump.

    With ETS's history of having fares stolen, you think that this would have been changed decades ago.



    LRT thief stole nearly $2.4 million, one coin at a time
    Salim Kara lugged home $900 a day, built Whitemud Creek mansion
    Edmonton Journal
    This city has spawned many cunning and crafty con artists, but few were as colourful as Salim Kara.

    It was 14 years ago that the Ugandan refugee made headlines, but his crime shocked an entire city.

    Kara stole nearly $2.4 million from Edmontonians — and he did it one coin at a time.

    Hired in 1981 to repair light rail transit fare boxes, he began pilfering coins almost immediately. When loonies were introduced in 1987, he must have thought he hit the jackpot, boosting his take to $900 a day.

    For 13 years, he stole, and despite a couple of audits and an incriminating videotape, he got away with it.
    https://www.pressreader.com
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 26-02-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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    ^Way late

    "as early as 2020"
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    The Edmonton Transit union doesn’t like anything progressive. It will “take away jobs”.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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    The most powerful union in the city is the transit drivers.
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    ^and ^^ Do you have any evidence that the transit union is in way responsible for alternative payment delays, or is this just a cheap shot?

    While it's unfortunate that credit/debit payment wasn't included the last time the ticket dispensing machines were upgraded, there are many other ways to obtain transit ticket books, day passes or monthly passes by credit/debit. Including at hundreds of retail locations throughout the city: https://www.edmonton.ca/ets/ets-sale...locations.aspx

    These days I rarely see people using the ticket dispensing machines or putting cash into fare boxes. There are better options for getting transit tickets and passes at a significant discount to cash fares.

  12. #12

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    I have been told in person by Jane Batty when she was Councillor how the Transit union bosses told her that unless she backed off progressive reforms of the transit system, they threatened that they would "shut the city down by going on strike"

    She told me that they blocked several good ideas to improve transit and make it more efficient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I have been told in person by Jane Batty when she was Councillor how the Transit union bosses told her that unless she backed off progressive reforms of the transit system, they threatened that they would "shut the city down by going on strike"

    She told me that they blocked several good ideas to improve transit and make it more efficient.
    I wouldn’t trust Jane as far as I could throw her. Strong leaders lead, weak ones toss around blame.

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    These days, any attempt to block good ideas would be met by an online lynch mob.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I have been told in person by Jane Batty when she was Councillor how the Transit union bosses told her that unless she backed off progressive reforms of the transit system, they threatened that they would "shut the city down by going on strike"

    She told me that they blocked several good ideas to improve transit and make it more efficient.
    I wouldn’t trust Jane as far as I could throw her. Strong leaders lead, weak ones toss around blame.

    I wouldn’t trust Edmonton Daily Photo far as I could throw her. I trust Jane Batty more than EDP
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  16. #16

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    its insane you cant buy tickets at LRT stations using credit or debit. Ive had to take out money at an ATM just to buy ONE ticket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trick91 View Post
    its insane you cant buy tickets at LRT stations using credit or debit. Ive had to take out money at an ATM just to buy ONE ticket.
    How'd you enjoy the $16.75 in change jangling around in your pocket? I've had to do that a few times when I thought I had cash on me but didn't. Pretty ridiculous.

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    Please oh please get this sorted and implemented.
    www.decl.org

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  19. #19

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    I don't really care for the complaints about cash-only (hint: your wallet has a compartment for coins), but I really want City to make sure the system works when they roll it out.

    Lest anyone makes yet another comparison to Calgary, they would first do well to remember the Connect Card boondoggle, which was Calgary Transit's version of the Metro line signaling fiasco.

  20. #20

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    My wallet has no compartments for change. it does have 8 slots for cards.

    Other cities all over the world have direct card payment systems.

    Most parking garages and even street parking meters take cards.

    Why oh why is ETS so far behind?
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 27-02-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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  21. #21

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    Dude, you don't have a wallet - you have a card holder. Get a wallet.

    No nation has gotten rid of physical currency. Coins are still legal tender and cards aren't universally accepted (i.e. there are still cash-only places). Your parents and grandparents used coins. If your pants can fit a six inch phone, it can jolly well fit a few (as in a lot) of coins.

    Don't be lazy. Bring some cash when you get out of the house. Or just stick to your personal rapid transport until they start selling the cards.

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    ^^Not sure what you are asking the City to do? It makes no sense to spend money upgrading the existing ticket dispensing machines to accept credit and debit cards in 2019, if they are all going to replaced by Smart Fare a year later.

    The existing ticket dispensing machines have to be at least 15 years and possibly 20 years old. And they are a damn sight better than the machines they replaced which, if memory serves, didn't accept any denomination larger than a $5 bill.

  23. #23

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    ^^ Dude

    I have a wallet. I did not know that a wallet had to have a coin pocket. Is that a legal requirement?

    I keep usually $100 in my WALLET. Plus my business credit card, my personal credit card, my debit card plus my licence, health care card, Costco card and a couple of other cards.

    If I have a $5 or $10 bill, can I get change from the bus driver?

    Parking meters can take cash or cards. Hospital and business parking garages take bills or cash and give change back. Heck, even vending machines can do the same.

    Quit being an ETS apologist. If anyone is lazy, it is ETS, not me.
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  24. #24

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    A wallet, by definition, is used for containing MONEY, with the option of cards. Ergo, you DON'T have a wallet. Spend the cash - get a wallet.

    I can't believe you blame ETS for YOUR decision not to do something as basic as bringing change. You're a grown adult, not Timmy taking ETS for the first time.

  25. #25

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    ********

    A wallet is definedby Webster as a folding pocketbook with compartments for personal papers and usually unfolded paper money

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wallet


    If foolworm wants to carry a purse, so be it.

    Give it a rest. Your argument is ridiculous. Credit cards are the norm and using your phone for payment is becoming more common every day.

    Joint the 21st century. We are already 19 years into it.
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  26. #26

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    If ePRT does not want to participate in regular society as a functional adult (it doesn't even matter which century), then (s)he is free to not carry coins and be handicapped as such. The degree of entitlement is unbelievable.

    Back on topic - Does anyone know if the Onecard is compatible with whatever system ETS will use? Or will there be a separate student-only ETS card?
    Last edited by Foolworm; 27-02-2019 at 10:38 PM.

  27. #27

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    You are bizarre.

    You expect even tourists, seniors, commuters and anyone using transit to buy wallets with change pockets and hold enough change in coins for their transit needs.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 27-02-2019 at 10:51 PM.
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  28. #28

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    Yes, and YOU are bizzare for thinking otherwise. It has been the standard for decades and still is in many places - Edmonton is not unique in this regard!

    I've had enough of this discussion - we obviously don't see eye-to-eye on this issue. Can we just agree that ETS needs to roll their system out ASAP?
    Last edited by Foolworm; 27-02-2019 at 11:06 PM.

  29. #29

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    That's what I was supporting. It is long overdue.

    It is obvious to all that private companies like parking garages have had such systems in place for years but government monopolies resist change.


    I still did not support your bizarre 'New Wallet' requirement.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 28-02-2019 at 08:11 AM.
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  30. #30

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    Okay, it's pretty evident you're just trolling at this point.

    Just wait until 2020 when they install the things and then you can find something else to complain about, like ETS not installing digital clocks at every stop because people don't wear watches or even read hands on a clock (because it's the 21st century, right?)

    And seriously, get a wallet. Or a purse if you insist on your card holder.
    Last edited by Foolworm; 28-02-2019 at 02:11 PM.

  31. #31
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    So people that don't carry cash cannot read an analog clock? Who's the troll?

    I'm also getting along fine as a real adult without cash, or apparently, a "real wallet", thanks.

    ETS is the only dinosaur left in the room, 2020 can't come soon enough.
    Last edited by Mock; 01-03-2019 at 12:00 AM.

  32. #32

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    You do yourself zero favours by misreading and then misconstruing my comment with a wannabe snarky drive-by post.

    You get along without cash? It's a free society, power to you. When whining about how you're not catered to if and when required to use change, keep in mind the vast majority of others do and have done so since money was invented. Faulting others for YOUR choices is outright hypocrisy.

    Cashless systems are horrendously hard to implement, as with anything involving virtual money. If it's not done right, better to not do it at all - and certainly don't do it just to 'keep up with the Joneses' if the current system works.

  33. #33

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    Fool-worm is a good name for a troll.

    Your assertion that cashless systems are horrendously hard to implement, is laughable. In fact cashless systems are installed to save money and reduce security issues of having to store and collect large amounts of coins on site. I have clearly laid out multiple examples of cashless systems or combination cash/card systems such as parking meters, vending machines, etc. as well as an example where an ETS employee stole millions of dollars in coins.

    I guess private industry solved the issues a long time ago and are reaping the benefits of reduced costs, did not find it "horrendously hard to implement"

    Don't forget, ETS was the one to require exact change in the first place. I still recall when bus drivers carried change dispensers on their belt and you could pay your 35 cent fare with two quarters from your pocket (remember having pockets for change?) And the driver would give you 15 cents of change. You could give him a dollar and he would make change for you also.




    Now you have to carry exact change and you cannot use bills. In the past a days worth of transit was simply a dollar bill. Today, you need exact change of $7 requires 6 loonies and 4 quarters that you have to lug around. Hardly convenient. I understand that exact change reduced boarding times and reduced risks for drivers. Our suggestions continue that goal.

    As a side note, I recall back in my grade school days that the school would receive stacks of new passes about 3 days before the end of the month. You could see them on the supply room shelf but the cranky clerk would not let you buy them until the last day of the month. Then you would have to line up as hundreds of students needed to buy their passes that day. Inconvenient as hell just because some clerk was intransigent.

    I ask you foolworm, was that cranky clerk at my school, your mommy?
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 01-03-2019 at 08:05 AM.
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  34. #34

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    Card and device payment has a cost. Merchants pay the cost of affinity cards and the like. Where cash is still accepted, those using cash sometimes subsidize those with cards through higher prices. City services would still have to accept cash in order to serve the population.

    Cashless would save money at some points and cost more at other points.

    Personally, I wish the city would accept credit cards for all services (facilities, property taxes, etc).

    It would also be more convenient to me if all the school and office fund raisers accepted cards as well. (Using something like square.)
    Last edited by KC; 01-03-2019 at 08:11 AM.

  35. #35

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    handling millions of dollars of coins also has costs
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  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    handling millions of dollars of coins also has costs
    And it can’t be avoided. There’s a lot of people that don’t have cards or even bank accounts. (People also lose their wallets, have their accounts breached and so cards cancelled, etc.)


    Well I’m very surprised at how few are unbanked (see below). I’d have expected those under say 10 or 12 years of age would be largely without bank accounts. Then add those in institutions on the street etc and I’d have figured that that population would easily exceed 3%


    “Millions of Canadians are excluded and/or underserved by the banking sector. 3% of all Canadians – close to one million - are unbanked, meaning they have no relationship at all with a mainstream financial institution. In addition, 15% - or close to five million Canadians – are underbanked. Underbanked Canadians may have a bank account, but their engagement with the mainstream financial sector remains limited. The millions of Canadians who are unbanked or underbanked are considered to be financially excluded from the mainstream banking sector. Financial exclusion is common due to the following four particular areas.”

    https://www.fin.gc.ca/consultresp/pd...ge-sefc-01.pdf
    Last edited by KC; 01-03-2019 at 08:20 AM.

  37. #37

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    Hopefully ETS can get their system running by 2020 and hopefully it is not built by Thales.
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  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    handling millions of dollars of coins also has costs
    Personally I care more about things like whether the buses and trains arrive on time - that's what is important to me. I don't really care that buses don't take visa.

    The biggest problem with the payment system currently, is some people have decided to scam the system and drivers are afraid to challenge them anymore. Smart cards don't solve that. I'm not sure what the solution is, maybe a physical barrier that people can't get by until people pay, but there would probably still have to be an override by the driver for transfers, etc.. No system is perfect. Ultimately there has to be some sort of crack down on the scammers, that will reduce the problem to a more manageable level.

    I don't really have problems with Smart cards, but my main concern is the incompetence in ETS in implementing anything new or changing anything. I suspect it will cost huge amount of money and not work well.

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    I’d like to see more plainclothes officers fine these offenders: https://edmontonjournal.com/news/loc...te-safer-buses
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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    Not sure, beyond a news story, the scope of this "problem" is. I suspect it's a pretty small percentage of total ridership.

    Truth be, bought my first monthly pass yesterday (given the weather). I usually buy books of tickets and when I get home, leave them in the LRT station for others to use.

    Hopefully it's those truly in need.
    ... gobsmacked

  41. #41

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    It isn't much. Basically I took umbrage at the 'cashless crusaders' who were acting as though ETS violated their rights by not catering to them earlier.

    The actual implementation will be a huge mess but I'm resigned to it - bigger and better-equipped organisations have gone through it and fared poorly. It will take years to get it up and running, I just hope it doesn't turn into a complete boondoggle and everything gets scrapped.

  42. #42

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    If you are referring to me, I am not a cashless crusader as I looked forward to a dual option, cash or credit.
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    Not sure when the shared St. Albert, ETS, Strathcona smart card is due, but they're working on it.

    You can also get tickets at any 7-11 and quite a few other convenience stores (Rexall also sells them).

    Books of ten - but only $26.50 - $9 below ten cash fares. I get a book every month or so and put it up on the fridge, and then don't have to worry.
    ... gobsmacked

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    That's great. Now go tell all the people living paycheck to paycheck, depending on the bus (not just taking it occasionally) to spend $30 at the start of each week, or dole out $100+ at the start of the month right when their rent has just been paid.

    Sometimes $20 is all you have in your account, and you can't even take out cash at the ATM to buy a ticket because the ATM charges $3/transaction. Can't buy a ticket book either.

    Nobody is trying to fix the system because people who have the disposable income are hurting, they're trying to make public transit accessible to the people who actually need it.

  45. #45

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    That sounds like an extremely contrived scenario. Carrying it to the extreme, what if this desperately cash-strapped person pays debit, but only has $2 rather than $20, and gets hit with an overdraft charge for putting their account in the red?

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    People live like that. This is a fact. It's not extremely contrived at all that people are that close to not being able to use transit, and the current system is providing an additional barrier to entry. Sometimes a little space on a credit card is all you have available.

    On that note, the new machines better take prepaid credit cards too, as people with bad credit use these often.

  47. #47

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    I disagree, it sounds like you're eking out an edge case for not being able to carry around cash when the very people you're talking about are the ones who have to carry around cash most (because places that take cash only are still a thing, whereas places that don't are.... Nonexistent pretty much). Choice is good but there's a reason why cash is considered the physical payment method of last resort.

    Again, people are trying to make a moral argument for smart fare (think of the poor people who don't carry cash!) and it's completely unconvincing. There are so many choices you have to deliberately make before that 'oh crap' moment at the farebox, that simply saying 'people live like that' sounds more like an absolution than anything else. Like I said, you can always end up overdrawing your account on debit, but that's no more valid a reason to blame the fare mechanism.

    Anyway it's a moot point, the system is going in next year (hopefully) and the focus will turn to the botch job that will inevitably be the case. The potential implementation issues and lack of communication from the participants were my bugbear from the get-go; somehow someone took offense to carrying coins and subsequently derailed the entire thread.
    Last edited by Foolworm; 05-03-2019 at 12:29 PM.

  48. #48

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    Or transit could be made free for all, in which case the problem ceases to exist entirely.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmon...ards-1.5042723

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    Fine, don't believe me. Just keep existing in a world where everybody can have a packet of bus tickets stuck to their refrigerator just incase they need to take transit, everybody has a surfeit of coins at their disposal, etc.

    I'll be over here taking the bus and train every day and seeing people scraping together dimes and quarters to be able to take the transit to work, lest they be caught evading fare and get a $250 ticket.

  50. #50

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    I put my pre-paid bus tickets in my wallet, next to the cards and cash I already carry. When I expect to be using transit regularly I also make sure I keep change in my pocket. Any less organization than that speaks of a lack of life skills beyond having change for the bus.
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    Congratulations. I do the same, but there's no way I'd expect everybody to have the same tendencies and habits.

    And since I'm apparently talking to a wall here, I'm just going to unsubscribe so everybody can continue patting themselves on the back about how they occasionally use transit, and where they keep all their bus tickets vs how the rest of the public who has to use transit, many of whom are far below the poverty line, operates.

  52. #52

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    I get the argument that people can't pay their fare sometimes because they don't have change, even if I'm old (fashioned) enough to carry around coinage with me at all times.

    What ticks me off is the attitude that it's somehow the fault of ETS for people's decision not to carry cash... Just because it's convenient, or passe or whatever. Then you come up with this sob story about how people can't pay because they can't make ends meet and can't make withdrawals due to ATM fees... Like what else is destiny throwing their way, their kid swallows their coins and chokes?

    I'll repeat, people have paid cash fares for a loooong time, it's not like plastic came along and people suddenly turn into Shopping Channel case studies when faced with physical currency. People who have twenty dollars in the account aren't going to keep it in the bank. They'll withdraw it (and they'll know EXACTLY which ATMs to use to avoid transaction fees to answer that what-if), and break it up to stretch every bit as long as possible, right down to the penny / nickel.
    Last edited by Foolworm; 05-03-2019 at 03:09 PM.

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    It's not ETS's fault, but their lack of forward-thinking a decade ago put them in the position where their fare collection is a barrier to entry.

    Not everybody has overdraft. The ATM actually will refuse to give you money if you don't have it. I get that you may not understand this, but it's the actual truth whether you believe it or not. In that case, the patron may have a credit card that they can use, or an app on their phone they can tap. It was one example, not the only example. And call it a sob story all you want, but once again, this is life for more Edmontonians than you might think.

    There are dozens of scenarios where cash only fare is a stupid and limiting policy. Tourists coming to Edmonton who plan to use their credit cards vs cash is another. Or maybe they have cash but don't want to break a $50 bill and lug around a few lbs of change.

  54. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    I put my pre-paid bus tickets in my wallet, next to the cards and cash I already carry. When I expect to be using transit regularly I also make sure I keep change in my pocket. Any less organization than that speaks of a lack of life skills beyond having change for the bus.
    Lack of life skills. Exactly. That’s why we have a whole lot of things including to some degree public transit itself. Society needs to design and provide for the unfortunate who don’t always have a choice or a capability. Cash has been the lowest common denominator for a long time but I can see where cards of various types could increase efficiency and reduce burdens at many levels and so all systems may need to have cash less options. (This is beyond my knowledge but maybe someone with a disability receiving some sort of support payments may find that card provides greater freedom.)
    Last edited by KC; 05-03-2019 at 03:19 PM.

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    You know Alex, if folks don't have the money - then tickets, smart fare or whatever you think is better - doesn't matter. They don't have the money.

    Possibly, like this supposed elitist - you could keep your paid ticket or transfer and leave it at your final stop with an hour or so still left - for others to use.

    Or you could donate a ride as ETS advertises every year.

    Or advocate for cheaper fares ... or a whole bunch of things that might actually solve a real problem versus a totally made up, off-the-rails (pardon the pun) rant.

    But then, you couldn't pretend to be better than the rest of us.

    Don't let the door hit you in the *** on the way out ....
    ... gobsmacked

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    Quote Originally Posted by McBoo View Post
    You know Alex, if folks don't have the money - then tickets, smart fare or whatever you think is better - doesn't matter. They don't have the money.

    Possibly, like this supposed elitist - you could keep your paid ticket or transfer and leave it at your final stop with an hour or so still left - for others to use.

    Or you could donate a ride as ETS advertises every year.

    Or advocate for cheaper fares ... or a whole bunch of things that might actually solve a real problem versus a totally made up, off-the-rails (pardon the pun) rant.

    But then, you couldn't pretend to be better than the rest of us.

    Don't let the door hit you in the *** on the way out ....
    I literally do almost all of those things. Funny thing though, leaving your ticket at your departure station is actually illegal according to ETS. Another ridiculous bylaw.

    If they don't have physical money, they may have credit is all I'm saying. Money takes on more than one form, and having only one payment option is asinine in 2019.

    You say I'm pretending to be better than the rest of you, but the "well I keep my bus tickets in my blah blah blah" conversation itself is pretty elitist. Like how dare anybody not have the money available to have a backup plan. How could they possibly live without $26.50 worth of "just in case" tickets at the ready? Oh, well maybe they had to choose between that and rent at the end of the month because they're scraping by to get to payday.

    Some of you have never been poor and it shows.

  57. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    It's not ETS's fault, but their lack of forward-thinking a decade ago put them in the position where their fare collection is a barrier to entry.

    Not everybody has overdraft. The ATM actually will refuse to give you money if you don't have it. I get that you may not understand this, but it's the actual truth whether you believe it or not. In that case, the patron may have a credit card that they can use, or an app on their phone they can tap. It was one example, not the only example. And call it a sob story all you want, but once again, this is life for more Edmontonians than you might think.

    There are dozens of scenarios where cash only fare is a stupid and limiting policy. Tourists coming to Edmonton who plan to use their credit cards vs cash is another. Or maybe they have cash but don't want to break a $50 bill and lug around a few lbs of change.
    You have it backwards - not everyone has overdraft protection, which charges a monthly service fee for most accounts. It's a horrible ripoff but is the evil reality of banking in Canada.

    Also, tourists coming to Edmonton are far more likely to forget to enable foreign transactions than to not have change, and there are ForEx outlets for this exact purpose.

  58. #58
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    Yeah, let's make people make another stop before being able to use our transit.

    I honestly don't understand what the objection is to enabling other methods of payment. Is it the cost of the changeover? Or is it just that it's different (even though it's the same as virtually every other major city in the world)?

  59. #59

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    In skimming this (link below) it seems that a fixed address is quite important to uninterrupted receipt of passes. Anyone moving around would have to stay on top of notifying the appropriate parties. An all electronic system might benefit some people beyond those with higher incomes using cashless services.


    https://vadsociety.ca/pdf/aish-faq.pdf
    Last edited by KC; 05-03-2019 at 04:33 PM.

  60. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    Yeah, let's make people make another stop before being able to use our transit.
    Having to make a ForEx stop is nothing compared to calling long distance to try and unlock your card for overseas use. Here's a tip: Carry a US $100 bill with you on trips - even the airline counters will convert it for you after hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    I honestly don't understand what the objection is to enabling other methods of payment. Is it the cost of the changeover? Or is it just that it's different (even though it's the same as virtually every other major city in the world)?
    It's not the actual system, it's the issues with implementing it, and the attitudes of people with regards to it. Personally as a transit pass user, the only difference is I don't have to worry about soaking it anymore.

  61. #61
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    Great tip. Why not just have my chauffeur take the Rolls Royce to the ForEx while I'm at it. Nobody is asking for International travel tips here.

    It doesn't matter if the stop at ForEx takes 1 minute or 10 if it can (and easily could) be avoided by just not requiring local physical currency to buy the ticket in the first place.

    You've talked about how it's their own fault if people are unprepared, but then do a complete 180 and point out that unprepared people routinely forget to enable foreign transactions on credit cards, so cash is the better solution. Which is it? Are we building a transit system for the prepared, or for the unprepared?

  62. #62
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    Smart fare. Good.
    Cash. Good.
    People with wallets. Good.
    People with subpar wallets. Good.
    People without wallets. Good.
    People without cash. Good.
    People with cash. Good.
    People without overdraft protection. Good.
    People with $4 in the bank. Good.
    Poor people with cash. Good.
    Poor people with debit. Good.
    People with $4 in credit. Good.
    Rich people. Good.
    Tourists. Good.


    We could split hairs further and make this list even longer, or we can make ETS sooooooo-good by making it simple and spontaneously accessible to the greatest number of people! Spontaneously accessible means choices for fare payment method while boarding the vehicle (cash, debit, credit, etc.). Simple means one doesn't need to keep tickets on their fridge, carry a bunch of coins around, or fart around in a Forex.

    Today, choice is limited for many people, for many valid reasons. There is no authority that deems which reasons are valid.

    If we can't go completely fare-free, then smart fare is the next best choice.

    ETS messing up the initial implementation is almost certain, so we must keep their feet to the fire if it happens; but that is not a reason not to do it at all.

  63. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.L View Post
    You've talked about how it's their own fault if people are unprepared, but then do a complete 180 and point out that unprepared people routinely forget to enable foreign transactions on credit cards, so cash is the better solution. Which is it? Are we building a transit system for the prepared, or for the unprepared?
    Good job twisting my words into a pretzel. I said people are more likely to forget to unlock their card than being cash, and that's in response to your assertation that tourists would rather go cashless when they travel.

    But to answer your loaded question, ETS is obviously built for the prepared, wherein the definition of 'prepared' is having a minimum of 3.50 in cash for a single fare (or a transfer, ticket, or pass). I think that's an EXTREMELY low bar to set, especially since ETS has been operating for well over a hundred years now and people generally know what is expected if they use transit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mock View Post
    ETS messing up the initial implementation is almost certain, so we must keep their feet to the fire if it happens; but that is not a reason not to do it at all.
    This is the part I'm worried about and would like more discussion /clarification on. There has been radio silence on the issue, yet testing is supposed to start this year with rollout in 2020.

  64. #64
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    The City recently ran a forum about the smart fare project as part of the insight community, but they offered no details, and didn't answer any questions.

    I remember the UofA ran their own test of smart card payment on the LRT for several years, but I can't find any information about it now. Hopefully they learned some lessons from that, but the lack of engagement from the city staff on that forum was alarming.

  65. #65

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    I remember that, it was ETS Blue. There were demo units set up between Health Sciences and University. That was 10 years ago now...

  66. #66
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    Yeah, 10 years ago, I thought so, and today they're presenting a system just as archaic...

    You have to get a smart card, you have to make an account, and you have to PRE-LOAD an amount of money onto the card. You can add-money to your card all the usual ways like ETS kiosk, convenience store, online, telephone. You can track your trips and balances in an app or on a website. There will be a light when you board the vehicle where you tap your card - green for ok, red for insufficient funds. You have to tap-off at the end of the ride.

    How much the fares would be and how they would be calculated was not mentioned - and no answer to dozens of questions. Tapping a visa or debit card, or paying with cash on the vehicle, was not mentioned, and people asked about it - no answer. I asked if there would be a "minimum top-up" like they have with the Epark app ($25), which is a HUGE barrier of entry - no answer. I asked what process will the driver follow when there is a red light, the program doesn't seem to make any improvement in driver safety - silence. People were asking how their location data will be secured - not even the vaguest of reassurances. I asked if they expect tourists to go through the whole card/account rigamarole - no answer.

    The only person from the city was a "Moderator" who posted the threads and maybe lobbed a general soft-ball followup question half-way through each thread. The only question that was directly answered was when someone complained the mod was closing the threads too quickly, and could they give people more time to respond? "Sorry, I'll try to keep the threads open as long as possible." (not an exact quote)

    It was basically the classic COE fake consultation: "This is what we're doing! What parts do you like the best?" It's a real shame because their public engagement on other projects was actually improving lately.

  67. #67

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    ^ You have to be kidding. Sounds overly complex, money up front, new cards, a real disincentive to take transit. Sounds like they want to gather data on you more than give good transit options.

    I go to a parking meter on the street or at a parking garage, swipe a credit card or banking card or pay cash and I am done. Simple, effective and efficient.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  68. #68
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    There are so many other transit systems with a better implementation than what was presented, it was really sad to see. Many people with tongue-in-cheek rightfully pointed out that there are candy machines that do a better job than this.

    It was also asked whether it would be possible to associate a credit card with the account and allow it to auto-charge a certain amount (opt-in of course) when the card is low, instead of facing the embarrassing red light. You can guess their response.

  69. #69

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    Sounds fairly standard. If you have to tap off, then chances are a zone system will be implemented, as opposed to the current 'one fare fits all'.

    Did anyone ask if there will be a deposit fee for the card as well? Most places I've been to charge ~$5 just for the plastic, which may or may not be refundable.

    Also, was there any indication on what sort of account data the card requires?

  70. #70
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    Could be zone system, or raw distance-based (as the crow flies), no idea. Some optimistic commenters raised the possibility of lower fares (than $3.50) for short trips, but the city remained mum.

    At least one person did ask if the card itself would cost $, but the general consensus among the users was that it should be free. Again, and I can't stress this enough, the city obviously has well-developed plans and a clear direction they're taking, but not a single query was answered.

    No indication of what account data is neccessary, but their video (sales pitch) specifically had a step after acquiring the card: "Janaya goes home and makes her smart fare account", so I suppose it would be more information than you would feel comfortable sharing with a clerk at 7-11. Probably nothing out of the ordinary - name, address, phone number, etc.

    However, that lack of information raised accessibility questions: what about homeless people/people without a computer/tourists/people without technical literacy/seniors/children?

  71. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mock View Post
    There are so many other transit systems with a better implementation than what was presented, it was really sad to see. Many people with tongue-in-cheek rightfully pointed out that there are candy machines that do a better job than this.

    It was also asked whether it would be possible to associate a credit card with the account and allow it to auto-charge a certain amount (opt-in of course) when the card is low, instead of facing the embarrassing red light. You can guess their response.
    Maybe they can add a card shredder to the embarrassing red light.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  72. #72

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    Back in 2013, St. Louis modernized their fare system. The 20 year old system was already more modern than Edmonton's. The old fareboxes accepted $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar coins.



    In 2013 they installed new machine that:

    The new machines provide more detailed passenger boarding information which will allow Metro to plan routes to better meet customer needs. The new equipment has advanced software to better identify counterfeit bills and foreign coins, and will assure collection of correct fares and help reduce fare evasion. The new system will also allow customers to use faster and more convenient smart card technology payment methods in the future.

    “The new fareboxes have been tested on several bus routes for more than a year, and suggestions from customers and operators were used to make the system even better before installing the new equipment on the entire fleet. We are learning even more with the wider implementation, and are continuing to work to provide the best product for our employees and customers.”
    http://www.metrostlouis.org/nextstop...ng-october-14/


    Meanwhile in the twin cities Minneapolis/St. Paul

    Key features
    No paper tickets to keep track of
    No need to carry cash, count exact change or find a ticket machine
    Store tickets on your phone for future use
    Pay a single fare or multiple fares for a group of riders
    Great for special events
    https://www.metrotransit.org/app



    Valley Metro - Phoenix
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 06-03-2019 at 11:02 AM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  73. #73

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    So I was walking around university today, and behold:



    It's still there after all these years! I never noticed.

  74. #74
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    Maybe we should be careful what we are asking for. If is anything like their parking app it will be a complete sh*t show.
    “Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity,”-Marshall McLuhan

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    So I was walking around university today, and behold:



    It's still there after all these years! I never noticed.
    Looks like the floor still needs grout.

  76. #76
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    I think the only down side is that smartcards won't do the working poor any good.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

  77. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    I think the only down side is that smartcards won't do the working poor any good.
    Three more things "smart" cards will not do:

    1. Make the bus arrive on time
    2. Increase the frequency of service
    3. Make crowded buses in peak hours less full

    The reason people are abandoning ETS is not because they don't take smart cards, it is because of service problems like the above.

    The reason it continues, is because the leadership of ETS continues to fiddle with everything, but dealing with the real problems.

    Transit riders are willing to accept some level of inconvenience, but there are limits. How many more stories about situations that have gone beyond the acceptable limits will it take before ETS or more importantly their bosses on city council get their heads out of the sand and do something about it?

  78. #78

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    Those "real problems" require money to fix. Smart fares are supposed to increase the recovery of costs via the farebox which is currently abysmal in Edmonton. More fares = more money for fixing other things without having to increase the already heavy funding from the city.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  79. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    I think the only down side is that smartcards won't do the working poor any good.
    Three more things "smart" cards will not do:

    1. Make the bus arrive on time
    2. Increase the frequency of service
    3. Make crowded buses in peak hours less full

    The reason people are abandoning ETS is not because they don't take smart cards, it is because of service problems like the above.

    The reason it continues, is because the leadership of ETS continues to fiddle with everything, but dealing with the real problems.

    Transit riders are willing to accept some level of inconvenience, but there are limits. How many more stories about situations that have gone beyond the acceptable limits will it take before ETS or more importantly their bosses on city council get their heads out of the sand and do something about it?
    Are you aware of the big changes coming in 2020?
    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

  80. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    I think the only down side is that smartcards won't do the working poor any good.
    Three more things "smart" cards will not do:

    1. Make the bus arrive on time
    2. Increase the frequency of service
    3. Make crowded buses in peak hours less full

    The reason people are abandoning ETS is not because they don't take smart cards, it is because of service problems like the above.

    The reason it continues, is because the leadership of ETS continues to fiddle with everything, but dealing with the real problems.

    Transit riders are willing to accept some level of inconvenience, but there are limits. How many more stories about situations that have gone beyond the acceptable limits will it take before ETS or more importantly their bosses on city council get their heads out of the sand and do something about it?
    Are you aware of the big changes coming in 2020?
    Somewhat. I gather there will be improvements on some routes and reductions/eliminations on others. From what I heard previously, the overall effect will be some net reduction. I think the frequency on some routes I use may improve, but then where I am they already just tend to have three buses go by at almost exactly the same time so if you miss one you miss all three, so its not working well currently - maybe it will change to four all at once. My sense is shuffling the schedule around will mostly just shuffle the problems around.

  81. #81
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    Modernizing transit to better serve more Edmontonians
    November 7, 2019

    Increased service frequencies, more direct bus routes and greater flexibility in how, when and where Edmontonians can travel are just some of the benefits of the proposed modernization of Edmonton’s transit service.

    Guided by the 10-year Transit Strategy, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) is proposing several initiatives that make better use of existing resources to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the city’s transit system for more Edmontonians. Specific initiatives include a bus network redesign, related service standards and a modernized fare policy. Input from 40,000 Edmontonians guided the development of the strategy and initiatives.

    “We know Edmontonians want safe, fast, convenient and reliable service, and we’re on the cusp of delivering this through key actions set out in our Transit Strategy,” said Eddie Robar, ETS Branch Manager. “This is Edmontonians’ plan. The planned changes will modernize Edmonton’s transit system while providing the city with a solid base for sustainable growth.”

    If approved by Council, the bus network redesign would better connect more Edmontonians to where they need to go. The redesign includes different route types to meet diverse travel needs of transit users across the city. The proposed service standards would provide the tools for ETS to make these changes, including when and where to add transit service. ETS will also provide an update to Council on alternative transit options (first kilometre/last kilometre), such as on-demand service.

    A modernized fare policy would allow for consistency when setting fares and would set the stage for fair, equitable and affordable service.

    ETS will present its reports to Executive Committee on November 18 and Urban Planning Committee on November 19.


    For more information:
    edmonton.ca/newbusroutes
    edmonton.ca/firstlastkm
    edmonton.ca/fares


    Media contact:
    Rowan Anderson
    Communications Advisor
    Communications and Engagement
    780-690-1605
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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