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Old August 7th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #1
degnaw
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GTA Farecard

I saw many comments about this mixed into other threads, but there was no single thread about it, so...

In my opinion, the farecard would probably cost too much to implement, and I think discounted combo passes (yrt-ttc or mississauga-ttc) would work much better than having the smartcard thing. The same cross-boundary type of route currently used by the ttc into York could be used, and the "extra fare" would be in the combo card.
In chinese cities where smartcards are implemented, its all different companies for subway and buses, and buses is pay-to-get-on (no transfers) and subway is by distance (but that leaves no room for subway-bus integration). Of course, since GO is a seperated system anyways, it could probably work. But it may not, because local transit isnt included...
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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:30 AM   #2
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GO's system being different is not as much of an issue as it would appear on the surface. The reason for this is that GO has been spearheading the smartcard ahead of everybody else. Expense of its implementation is of course another issue. The TTC has been told that its subway station retrofits would be paid for by a higher level of government, this was at one point a potential deal-killer but, although controversion in terms of priorities, has been dealt with and resolved. I do not know how the busses plan to integrate with the smart card but I imagine a similar maybe to VastTraffik in Gothenburg Sweden, where their fare collection system is the same philosophy as GO Transit's, and since GO is spearheading the smartcard in the GTA, it seems like a likely solution. It would also hold compatibility with streetcars and possibly allow busses to be boarded from the rear.

The smartcard has its advantages and disadvantages, as does everything, but the key point is convenience and integration. There is a focus on territory and in limited cases with GO Transit, competition for routes, which sometimes gets complicated. This is something that cannot be easily solved though, but a coordinating body such as the GTTA might help, although I must admit I am skeptical given its weak makeup (given its current unimpressive state, it would make more sense to just let GO run the whole show, as they are in the best default position).
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Old August 8th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #3
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I was wondering, that if the farecard would turn the different transit agencies into different fare zones, how would it work? If it would work like the GO (vasttraffik) then would there be any way to properly check the fare? I was imagining mini-turnstiles at the entrances and exits of every bus, but the cost wouldn't make it worth it. Of course, the Chinese-style system where you pay once to get on each bus wouldnt work in NA because of the tight integration between bus routes.

How do current NA cards (ChicagoCard, Breezecard, etc) work and integrate with buses?
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Old August 8th, 2006, 10:21 PM   #4
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Ever ridden on the GO when you forgot to stamp your ticket? I have. I stamped it at the end of my trip instead of the start, since I like GO, but I effectively got a free ride if I had wanted it to be free. There is no way to check the fare on GO for every rider every time they ride, as that would require random inspections between every stop throughout the train. However, most people would really rather not get hit with the penalty for getting caught in a random inspection without a valid ticket. You just control people through fear. Some people are stupid enough to beleive that the trains don't get checked during rush hour because it is too crowded but they are wrong, I've been checked in the train when it is jampacked. It is less common perhaps, but certainly goes on. So the argument of how do you check busses and streetcars with random inspections when they are so crowded does not fly - just ask GO for instructions and they'll show you how it's done (maybe at a price =P). There would be a transition stage of course, but this can be facilitated by just making the posession of a transfer mandatory. Queen Street and King Street streetcars already have that practice in effect.
So not being able to check the fare everytime for everyone is not a problem. Putting a faregate into vehicles themselves is actually absurd - can you imagine a faregate at every set of doors to the subway? It is not practical to passengers and it is not economically viable either - and I'd point to air travel as proof.

As for fare zones being shared by all companies, that probably would not be necessary, because the card is "smart", it knows what company the vehicle belongs to, and you would have to use it at all transfers, different company or not (same as aforementioned vasttraffik).

I am not too familiar with other NA examples, but based on some smaller pieces of information pickedup here and there, I would not look to the US for advice in the public transit department. However, the model calls for something that works on bus, train, and streetcar, and that is why I brought up vasttraffik (they use all three with the same fare system, which is equivalent to POP Honour system, which would be easily compatible with smartcard).
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Old August 9th, 2006, 01:22 AM   #5
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Haven't heard anything about the GTA Farecard in a long time. Is the plan still on track? I thought the first phase was supposed to be in place by next year.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 10:30 PM   #6
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I think the provincial government is contributing to the farecard. I think there needs to be more integration between the different systems (MT, YRT, TTC, etc.), and this would help.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #7
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The thing about the GTA Farecard that everyone is touting about is that it will make transferring between agencies seamless. I don't see it that way the way they have the card set up. You basically load up some money onto your Farecard and the money is automatically deducted off your card when you swipe it as you board a bus. It will credit you with a transfer if you need it so that when you swipe your card again on another connecting bus you won't get billed a second fare.

This is the current setip with tickets and cash fares, you pay your fare/ticket, get a transfer if you need one, and carry on your way. Then only difference is that you won't need separate tickets for each agency. If you always pay by cash then what's the point unless they offer a discounted rate for using the card. The system is set up to reduce the use of paper tickets and transfers. However, those paying by cash and require transfers will still require the paper variety.

In the GTA, with the exception of the TTC (which does not accept neighbouring transfers at face value, or at all) and DRT (which does for the moment connects only with the TTC - see above problem), all NEIGHBOURING transit agencies accept each other's transfers. (There are a few instances where non-neighbouring agencies meet and transfers are not allowed: Hamilton-Oakville, Mississauga-YRT, but negotiations could fix that.)

So why fix a system that isn't broken? Adding these farecards would just add another level of fare media. Having tickets I feel is a greater peace of mind for me than worrying about losing my Farecard with all the money I'd have stored on it and having someone else use it. Having all your eggs in one basket doesn't seem wise to me. This is the case with NYC's MTA farecards. They are valid on both buses and subways for all the MTA's jurisdictions, but I am alway conscious of where my farecard is, because once you lose it, it's pretty much gone.

Granted, the farecards will facilitate passenger tracking to monitor transit usage, and cut down on transit disputes (maybe not, if the NYC farecard is any indication), some sort of compromise must be reached so that there is in fact a wider benefit to both the riding public and the agencies which would administer the system.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil
In the GTA, with the exception of the TTC (which does not accept neighbouring transfers at face value, or at all) and DRT (which does for the moment connects only with the TTC - see above problem), all NEIGHBOURING transit agencies accept each other's transfers. (There are a few instances where non-neighbouring agencies meet and transfers are not allowed: Hamilton-Oakville, Mississauga-YRT, but negotiations could fix that.)
They do? I always thought if someone lived in Brampton and worked in Richmond Hill, or vise versa, they would have to buy two monthly passes, but apparently not... Ive never lived in toronto, so I wouldn't know, but there was nothing about it on the transit agencies' websites.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by degnaw
They do? I always thought if someone lived in Brampton and worked in Richmond Hill, or vise versa, they would have to buy two monthly passes, but apparently not... Ive never lived in toronto, so I wouldn't know, but there was nothing about it on the transit agencies' websites.
There is a weekly GTA pass which allows travellers unlimited access to TTC, Brampton, Mississauga, and York Region Transit. The person living in Brampton could get one of these passes and use it to freely travel between their home and Richmond Hill.

Monthly passes are a bit trickier. Up until July when monthly passes were recently introduced (in reaction to a federal tax credit on monthly passes), weekly passes were only available from several GTA agencies.

If you were going to travel into another jurisdiction, you would simply show your (Mississauga, for example) weekly pass to the driver on the Brampton bus, who would then issue you a transfer if you needed it. Of course the pass wouldn't work on the return trip. However, many suburban agencies have instituted timed transfers, meaning that if you could complete your return trip before your transfer expired (1.5 - 2 hours depending on the agency), you'd able to make it back to your home jurisdiction to use your pass. If you needed to travel on to a third jurisdiction you would simply exchange the transfer from the previous one for one from the current one.

However, back to your scenario, for someone travelling between Brampton and Richmond Hill, local transit would not be the best solution. GO Transit, which is the regional commuter agency operates routes connecting the two towns. Discounts (50 cent fares in most cases for those travelling to or from a train station) are available on local transit as a complimentary service. All that is needed is a valid GO Transit ticket or pass.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 11:16 AM   #10
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KL introduced the "Touch n Go" card which is a RFID smartcard (light contact required).

All of the LRT stations, KTM, monorail, various car parks, toll booths, and theme parks use the Touch N Go card for admission.

It may not be perfect, since you still have to go through the turnstiles...and there is no system of discounting....

but having the "Touch n Go" is a huge convenience and time saver.

The simple reason is that you can move through the station/toll gates faster...and in stations you dont have to deal with the TVMs, which do not accept more than one currency note (if they are working at all).

So I think that the Smartcard will provide some benefit even if it is minor at first. Some of the costs can also be absorbed by private investment...do what they do in Hong Kong, where the octopus card can be used at various stores and restaurants, and can be reloaded at the local 7-11

Hmmm..I also wonder...if the GTA smartcard may end up as just a cash card...could they expand on the existing dEXit system (direct-debit keychain tag)

Cheers, m
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Old August 11th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsonyuen
I think the provincial government is contributing to the farecard. I think there needs to be more integration between the different systems (MT, YRT, TTC, etc.), and this would help.
Just like what we have over here in Singapore, all modes of transport are integrated into one mode of payment, which is the Ez-Link (Smart Card System). Even when you transfer from bus to train, Train to LRT (light Rail - Peoples Mover System) it will deduct and give the rebates accondingly. Over here, payments are charged by the distance that you travel. Example, when you board the bus, you tap the card once and the Ez-link will deduct the maximum fare. When you reach your destination, you tap again whn you alight and the machine will calculate and deposit the remaining amount back to your card. It works over here and from what you can see, Everyone here have a Ez-link card with them and it's getting more popular as there are more places which accept this smartcard system other than the transport system.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #12
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Ajax Transit had something like this when I was a junior in HS. I liked it, you just walked past and waved your card over the reader, it was so easy.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:22 PM   #13
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As AllUrban said, the RFIDs are a great system. They truely do save time and the do save money. If people use them more it takes less staff to dole out change and deal with transporting change to the tills in stations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-strider
Just like what we have over here in Singapore, all modes of transport are integrated into one mode of payment, which is the Ez-Link (Smart Card System). Even when you transfer from bus to train, Train to LRT (light Rail - Peoples Mover System) it will deduct and give the rebates accondingly. Over here, payments are charged by the distance that you travel. Example, when you board the bus, you tap the card once and the Ez-link will deduct the maximum fare. When you reach your destination, you tap again whn you alight and the machine will calculate and deposit the remaining amount back to your card. It works over here and from what you can see, Everyone here have a Ez-link card with them and it's getting more popular as there are more places which accept this smartcard system other than the transport system.
All modes of transport that fall under the TTC, being subway, streetcar (LRT) and ttc buses are all in a unified fair system with no zones. A one way trip is allowable under some conditions that I am too lazy to post right now. Where multiple fares come in the GTA is between other systems.
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