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Posted to local politics
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Expiring Transportation Cards, Vacancy sensitive meters and other Digital and Non-Digital Ripoffs

Why should the Port Authority and MTA be allowed to expire fixed amount trip cards?  When I by a 30 trip Path Card there is no reason that the card should expire after a 60 or 90 days. In the old analog and token days, you bought 30 tokens and you could use them six months or six years later. For the infrequent traveller or perhaps telecomutuer who wants to invest in public transportation, the value of that investment is summarily rendered void for customers in the new age or digitally expired service.  Obviously, this would make sense in the case of a weekly or monthly pass but when a consumer pays for trips they should not be rendered void after some arbitrary deadline of which the consumer has no say.

Its not just digital systeme that have done this. Likewise the NJWaterways ferry service expires ferry tickets.  The complent seems petty but flip the equation around and you wil quickly realize the scale of monies taken from consumers/citizens with out the purchased services being rendered.

In many cities in America, you now see digital meters.  Pretty snazzy until you notice that they end the era of riding a fortuitous meter with extra time.  The new meters can sense when a car pulls away and automatically reset to zero.  Even more audacious was when i was about to ride a meter in Hoboken, NJ,  I was told by a police officer that I couldn't do so even when i had nanaged to pull in right behind the vacating driver thereby tricking the system.

Its for this reason that I warn all of you out there to also stay away from Gift Cards, Certificates or whatever they want to call the scam... Give Cash!!!  In the fine print of just about all of those gift certificates is an expiration date that effectively will give the store your money for free if your gift recipient hasnt spent it by the deadline. Beyond that seldom will a gift certificate get fully used with out the expenditure of some additonal money as the final bill almost never exactly matches the amount of the certificate.

Posted by developer at 5:47 PM
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