Saturday, August 13, 2011

Go (Card) back to where you came from?

Most Brisbane commuters understand how unreliable the go card system is. Red lights, orange lights, touch again, invalid card, failed readers, failed cards, etc, etc. It's just a shame that a Brisbane Magistrate does not appear to understand this. It has been reported in this Courier Mail article that a British man, has been convicted of fare evasion due to his go card failing to touch on at Morningside station. This conviction, and the fact that this man does not have permanent Australian residency means that he could potentially be deported back to UK. According to the article, the man reported the faulty go card in good faith to a Transit Officer. Unfortunately, he ended up in court with a conviction. The man is now taking legal action against Transport and Main Roads. BrizCommuter wishes him good look, as most go card commuters could end up in a similar position (for example BrizCommuter recently had a failed bus touch on which he was not aware of).

It could be argued that as the go card did not touch on and he was aware of this, then he should have bought an paper ticket at extra cost instead. However, BrizCommuter would expect that few passengers are fully aware of the rules, and few passengers are aware that it is possible to get a refund on the paper ticket. Of course, a go card user expecting the system to work may not allow enough time to buy to paper ticket in case of go card failure. With a train only every 30 minutes, who would buy a paper ticket if it involved waiting another 30 minutes for the following train? What if the person does not have enough money on them of a paper ticket, or if the AVVM is not giving change, nor allowing EFTPOS? Unless there is more to the story that hasn't been reported, it is disgraceful that someone could have a conviction and potentially be deported due to a fault in the poorly implemented and unreliable go card system. Cases like this further decrease consumer confidence in the go card system, and public transport in Brisbane. Yet another reason why Brisbane's public transport system is not "World Class".


The go card user guide...
...contains the quote "if all go card readers are not working and you are unable to touch on you can travel for free (this journey only) - do not touch off when you reach your destination". It would be assumed that if the go card itself has failed, then above would be valid. The quote is also confusing. Is it expected that the user should spend 10 minutes wondering around station trying to find a working reader, resulting in missing a train? How does the user know if the readers have broken or their card? It's sounding easier just to get in a car and drive instead!

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