instructions are there for a reason (ranting)

Lady please, just follow the instructional diagram!

Here in Adelaide, South Australia, we have small, rectangular, paper, bus (tram, train) tickets.
Well, not quite paper, they're more a thin cardboardy thing.

Each single ticket is good for two hours after validation, each multi-trip ticket is good for ten two hour rides.
We've had them for years, so you'd think people would know how to use them by now.

But no! 
Time after time, people insert their tickets into the validating machine the wrong way.
Either upside down, back to front, or both.
These tickets have a directional arrow printed on one side and the magnetic validating strip on the other side.
(I have photos, but we all know I can't be uploading any)
AND there is a small cardboard instructional image cable-tied to the pole that holds the validating machine. 

It's a very clear instruction.
The ticket must be inserted this way!
Yet every day those of us on the bus hear the "boink" of a rejected ticket over and over as someone inserts the ticket the wrong way, spins it around and tries again, then flips it over and tries again, until they eventually get the green light. 

Some even have a fist full of tickets and try every single one until they find one that is still within the two hour time limit, or discover they are all out of time and have to buy a new one. 

Can’t they check before boarding? 
While they are waiting at the stop seems like a good time.

Let’s not mention those who board the bus and then start searching through pockets, purses, handbags looking for their ticket. 

Now, let's be clear, I'm not talking about those few people who have never caught a bus before, or catch one maybe once in a blue moon,so don't know the system. (Although they too could just glance at the instruction board, it's right there). Usually they have someone with them who knows how and shows or tells them.

I'm talking about people who ride the bus all the time, those who get on, do the spin around, flip over ticket manouvre again and again while cheerfully stating, "I always get this wrong".

On the other side of the coin are the many, many, many people who get it right.

These tickets are now being phased out with new plastic metro cards being issued. 

These are the size of a credit card, and there are machines popping up in various places, such as the train station, or the information centre, where you can insert the card and charge it up with however much cash you'd like by entering your bank information. 
The cost is debited from your bank account. 
You can also recharge online.

I'm not sure if there is a limit on the amount you can put on the card.

These would seem to be a much better idea, as instead of inserting a ticket on the bus, you only have to touch the card against the circular icon printed on the validating machine. 
You can’t get that wrong, surely.

The machine will then show a green light and tell you how many rides you have left.  
When your balance is getting too low, it will flash a green and yellow light, so that you know you need to recharge the card soon.

Each ride is still good for the two hours as before, with seniors still travelling free between 9am and 3pm Mondays to Fridays, and all day on weekends and public holidays. 

Those of us who hold Seniors cards were sent new Seniors cards in the mail with a little metro card icon in the bottom corner. 
When I received mine, I went into the bus information centre and handed in all my unused multitrip tickets and had the $$ balance transferred to my new metro card. 

It will solve the problem of people not knowing how to insert the paper ticket.
Really, it will!
How easy is it to just touch the card to the machine?

I think these new metro cards are a great idea, mine seems to work very well and validating on the bus (or tram or train) is much quicker for those of us that have them.


  1. If there is any possibility of doing it wrong someone out there will find it.

  2. Sounds very simple and I bet the new system is not costing anywhere near the $1.5 billion that ours is costing. I remember those funny old metal box validators.

  3. I'm glad i don't need to use public transport as 99 per cent of services i use are within easy walking distance.

  4. Sounds like a much better plan

  5. That was a very satisfying RANT. And, the don't come here block is gone, too. Life is good. Well, except for the pix, but that's OK. I know you'll straighten that out, too.

  6. Those tickets have been around for a long time and as you said, it's not that hard to get it right. (sigh)

  7. Heyyyy... your blog works again. Before I was getting scary buggy warnings.

    I don't get why they'd only make tickets available for TWO hours. Why not a daily pass? Ok whatever. :)

  8. Hi River,

    Totally agree - can I have my soapbox back now?




  9. We have the pre-load and touch tickets. And each time I am on the bus someone gets it wrong. Which, considering it can be used upside down and back to front is almost impressive. Almost.

  10. There's always your dignity to trade, it's worth something. Years ago I rode buses in America and they had that two hour ticket. On every trip I took someone got on (usually a black man), showed the driver his expired-by-several-minutes ticket and pleaded for a ride. None were refused.

  11. MOH is nearly 83 and seldom uses public transport but has never had a problem with THOSE tickets here in WA which I think are similar. Some people just don't use the brains they were born with and have no consideration for others either. I enjoyed your RANT very much and am glad you don't suffer fools gladly.

  12. Delores; I saw it just last week-someone holding their new card to the machine, but in the wrong spot, he had it up near the top where the old tickets get inserted instead of down by the printed on circle.

    Andrew; it is very simple, at the moment the machines validate both kinds of tickets, the old paper ones and the new cards.

    Windsmoke; I used to walk everywhere too, well, most places. But when I'm carrying stuff, which seems to be most of the time, I'll hop on a bus.

    peskypixies; the new cards work very well. There are other new cards being phased in, concession cards for students and those on Centrelink benefits, as well as regular cards for the general population who pay full fares. Each kind is a different colour.

    Joanne Noragon; a good rant helps to clear the head. I'm glad your warning is gone. I'll give in and buy storage at Picasa so I can keep posting photos.

    Tempo; it really is easy, I saw how to insert the ticket the first time I bought one.

    Happy Elf Mom; I didn't realise you were getting the bug warnings too. There are day pass tickets available for a slightly higher cost you can get a ticket for use on any bus, tram or train between 9am and 3pm. I'm not sure how that will work with the new card system.

    Plasman; I'll step down, the soapbox is all yours. Until next time.

    Elephant's Child; you've seen someone get it wrong too? It's so easy. Unless they hold it in the wrong spot. Or like an elderly lady here just last week who didn't realise her new Seniors card was different and tried to use the old one without the Metro symbol to validate her ride. She got a little anxious and the driver told her to just take a seat and remember the new card next time.

    R.H. my dignity is just about all I have left and I won't be trading that anytime soon. We have cheats here who get on the bus and walk right past the machine and when the driver challenges them they pretend to be searching for their ticket right up until they get off in town. There's a couple of regulars who do it all the time, the woman is quite rude when answering back the driver each time.

    Mimsie; you're right, some people just don't use their brains, and really, this is such a simple thing. Get it right!

  13. Sorry River, but I'd be one of those annoying dimwits. I'm the person who can't remember whether to turn the key left or right to open my car or the front door. Credit card thingies that unlock hotel doors - even with arrows and magnetic strips and instructions - defeat me every time.

    When we have a microchip stored in our foreheads it'll be a big relief for dummies like me. :)

  14. Woo HOO!!!! I'm baaaaaack. Chrome isn't blocking your site anymore.

    Rest assured, clueless people aren't just riding on your bus; they inhabit every corner of the earth. (I've, um, even been known to join their happy ranks a time or two.) You may think the new fare system will be easier. Fool-proof, even. Nah! Never underestimate the ability of a fool. (Or should that be "inability"...?)

  15. Hey! I can reach you again!

    I have a Metro Card. Most convenient thing ever.


  16. Kath Lockett; I'll put your name down for the very first microchip then.

    Susan Flett-Swiderski; Nice to see you not being blocked anymore. I'm sure there will be at least a few people who can't manage it.

    Pearl; I didn't realise you had been getting blocked.
    I love my Metro Card.

  17. I remember the ticket punch guy on the bus. Does that date me? I'm the person standing in front of the machine and studying the drawing and the ticket and finally getting them right before inserting. I guess I'm just awesome that way. (We won't say just how long it takes me to figure out before inserting . . .)

  18. we've paper tickets here, no metro cards, though that might be helpful if you travel a lot, won't be needing the paper ones, as in their wisdom, they've cancelled the service to the town centre from the top of the road, so it's walking (fecks up the back and hips) or the exorbitant taxi cabs...le sigh.

  19. Dianne Tolley; at least you work it out before inserting, but after you've done it once, do you remember for every other time?

    The Wicked Writer; they've cancelled your bus service? That's terrible! Is there some local government council you can complain to? Although that might not do much good.


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