Imagine one public transport card

Public transport NFC cards

I just came back from Madrid and while looking at my Madrid Metro card on the plane, thought imagine if you could use the same card in different locations? Its one of the reasons why I still use Uber, the ability to use it in different countries.

It was surprising to me that my Amsterdam OV-chipkaart which I bought back in 2006 was still active when I went back in 2016 actually; so I’ll be keeping my Metro card complete with its balance of about 4 rides. My Oyster card still worked when I moved away but as its 1st generation, isn’t manageable from the TFL website (I need to swap it out next time I’m in London).

Realistically it would be very difficult to get all these government entities to come to a common standard but its worth trying right? Although this might be all null, as its interesting to see the London Oyster slowly? being replaced by contactless debit/credit cards instead? That does seem to make much more sense and you can manage it from a web service and a app;  yep another bloody proprietary app (I’ve already had enough of each service having its own app!)

TFL contactless payment

It could be a great boom for public transport generally. Take the best of ride sharing services like Uber but for the public benefit. Think of it like the Japanese PASMO and SUCIA cards but based around standard NFC/contactless bank cards? Of course theres always the option of cash, phone and other NFC devices if you prefer.

 

Embracing e-paper displays in banners

Epaper bus stop

Read on BBC News that…

Transport for London is trialling e-paper bus stops that can display real-time travel information.

Fitted with solar-powered panels, they show how long passengers have to wait for the next buses, as well as route maps and timetables.

Although this is a small trial, it certainly indicates there might be more large scale use of epaper displays. To be fair its not the first time they have been used  Ideally I’d still like to see larger displays as I have talked about previously.

Of course display boards are nothing new in epaper. But what we really need is billboard size.

Is Metrolink ripping us off?

Metrolink in Manchester map

I went to the Sharp Project today for BBC Connected Studio which was great. But I noticed something with my travel there.

I have a year travel card which allows me to go between Piccadilly Station and Media City. However my pass actually says From City – To Eccles. I assume this allows me to go anywhere between Piccadilly or Victoria and Eccles. Sounds great but today I wanted to go to Central Park on the Oldham line (Rochdale on the one above, which includes lines which are yet to be finished)

As it was outside the city zone, I decided to pay for the extra 2 stops. 2.20 pounds worth of travel. I’m sure it was the same price as buying a ticket from anywhere in the city zone including Piccadilly. In fact it would make no difference that I had a year travel card (in theory)

Ok forget the cost, what I don’t understand is why there is no zones like Transport for London? Frankly Central Park is closer to central Manchester than Media City and Eccles.

The other day I went down to Cholton and totally forgot that my year pass only covers me between Media City and the City Zone. If Metrolink had caught me, who knows what it would have cost me in a fine. But to be honest I would have argued against it because frankly its a stupid system without zoning.

My thoughts is because Metrolink choose not to add zones, they are earning money from those who have spent money opting for a week, month or year pass and do happen to go other places.

Tell me I’m wrong…?

Thanks to Chris who left a comment on my Facebook with a link to this news article from the MEN.

Metrolink set to move to new ‘zone’ ticket prices

Greater Manchester’s tram system could be split into London Underground-style zones within two years. The plan is for the new system to come into force when ‘smart’ fare-payment cards – similar to the capital’s Oyster cards – are introduced in 2014.

Tram stops would be allocated to a zone depending on how far they are from central Manchester. Fares would vary accordingly – with journeys crossing more zones costing more. The proposals were due to be discussed by transport leaders tomorrow.

A view of the zones

I knew I was right…!