Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just get on the train

Two links from a recent Risks Digest:
  • Oyster and Mifare cracked
  • Researchers at Nijmegen's Radboud University have evidently cracked and cloned London's Oyster travel card, after previously having had similar success with the Dutch MIFARE travel card ...
  • Free Berlin subway rids
    More than 600 of the 700 ticket machines refused to work after they were updated from a central server overnight. ... It took until 1 pm for the error to be fixed on all machines.

    In the meantime, security people walked around encouraging people to just get on the trains. The ticket checkers (who travel undercover and announce ticket controls just after the doors close) were pulled from the subway and put on bus and tram duty.

Kevin Falcon, British Columbia's Minister of Automobile Infrastructure wants turnstiles and smartcards at skytrain stations. I'm confused about whether it is for security or to tackle the ostensibly huge problem of fare evasion. Everybody over-estimates fare evasion; the latest Translink survey confirmed this: fare evasion as measured is less than ten percent, but most people believe it is up around twenty-five percent.

Disregarding the capital costs of these turnstiles and smart-card systems, I wonder how many rush-hour smart-card service outages at Broadway station we'd have to have before all of the supposed re-captured revenue from former fare-evaders would be wiped out by the necessity to allow people to just get on the trains, as during the Berlin malfunction.

Maybe our system would never ever ever ever malfunction, though. Yeah.


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