Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old passes, new passes- by jeff rose

I think it was on the 28th or 29th (about a week ago) a message came over the
BDS that
interested me for two reasons. The message was about the October monthly
passes. It
said that it had come to *someones* attention (didn't say whose) that operators
accepting October bus passes, and that those passes weren't valid until October
1st. That
was about it.

The first interesting thing to note about the message is this: it only came
once! It made
me wonder- who all can send messages over the BDS? Station agents can, I know.
anyone in the main office? Can Fred get on his computer and send out a message?
an assistant station manager? Where ever this message originated, in any case,
it was
outside the area where the double message problem exists which could prove to be
important clue in solving the problem. I hope somebody reads this who can pass
that on
to the IT crew!

The other point I'd like to make about the message is that it was a nice
clarification of
what TRIMET wants us to do when presented a pass that isn't yet valid. I
usually accept
the *old* pass on the first day of the new month with a reminder to the
passenger to get
down and get a new pass, but I've been seeing more and more (especially young)
passengers using the new pass early- I even saw one around the 20th, I think!
problem with letting folks use the new pass early is that they could have given
their old
pass to a friend who then is riding fare-free for a few days.

I've been trying to remind people to hold onto their old passes till the end of
the month,
but I'd been coming to slip a little especially on the last day of the month
when I was
imaginging TRIMET would just prefer that we don't hassle the passengers and just
the new pass. After getting the message, I immediately started "educating"
folks on
Trimet's policy and it seemed that by the end of the day, I had started seeing
fewer of the
not-yet-valid passes. Several hundred operators get the message out pretty
quickly when
they're ALL put to the task!

I think the little message of clarification was a nice thing to receive.
Knowing where it was
coming from would be an improvement, but I wouldn't mind seeing more messages
this in the future if they were educational and instructive without being too

One way I used to deal with OLD passes (I did this in Salt Lake and am thinking
trying it here) is when someone presents me with last months pass on the first
day of the
next month and says that they're going to get their pass, I have them put the
pass in the
farebox and give them a day ticket. They can then get to where they need to go,
and get
their new pass. If they're lyin' to me at least the pass is going to be out of
circulation so
they can't bother some poor operator by trying to use it on the 2nd of the


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