Sunday, August 8, 2010

Anatomy of a Go Card

X-ray of go card
Here is an exclusive x-ray image of the anatomy of a Go Card (or go card as TransLink like to typeset it).

The Go Card is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) smart card, which upon detecting a radio signal from the reader, transmits a unique identifying code back to the reader. This allows a computer to know the cards location, and either start a journey or charge the appropriate fare.  The microchip can clearly be identified. The long antenna wrapping itself just inside the edge of the card is also quite noticeable. The Go Card was originally (and ? still is) a MiFare Classic smart card made by NXP Semiconductors.

The MiFare Classic smart card has been linked to serious security flaws after having been cracked by a Dutch University in 2008. There was plenty of fuss in the press about this back in 2008, but nothing in the news since. BrizCommuter would like to know what TransLink have done about this security risk? Have newer models of smart cards such as the MiFare DESFire been introduced by TransLink? Have any extra security measures been taken by TransLink for passengers using the MiFare Classic smart cards?

Whilst on the subject of the Go Card, BrizCommuter is happy to see that TransLink have recently solved two issues with the Go Card. The first being the long awaited introduction of online applications to get refunds, and the second being the bright orange wrap to make Go Card readers more noticeable. Both of these should have been in place since the introduction of the Go Card.

Now TransLink seriously need to fix the rip-off fare structure which penalises those who use public transport regularly. The current fare structure with it's lack of daily and periodic capping does not encourage the frequent use of public transport. Surely this is the opposite of TransLink's purpose? 

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