Needing to get from a seminar at the Australian national University to Information Awareness Month the National Library of Australia last night, I decided to take the local ACTION bus. This was my first use of the new Canberra "My Way" smart card bus ticket, which have a few problems.
MyWay has been introduced, so I went to the newsagent at the university to buy one. The staff were relieved to find I wanted an ordinary card, as they had been busy processing special student discount cards. I expected some sort of complex registration process, but I handed over $20 and was handed a card. The cards have no obvious electronic wizardry on them, being a relatively plain two colour printed plastic card. There is no embossing and no electronic contacts visible. There is what appears to be a serial number on the card.
Getting on the bus I placed the card on the MyWay reader next to the driver and got a reassuring beep. However, travelling into the city I noticed the reader on the back door of the bus had a red light and an error message. Most of the passengers at the Civic interchange exited via the front door of the bus, not the rear one, as they were unable to "tag off" with their card at the rear door. This held up those passengers wishing to board, as they had to wait for the alighting passengers.
At the National Library stop I decided to use the front exit, but was presented with an error message by the card reader. I tried several times and then looked at the driver who just shrugged their shoulders and drove off. I have no idea what I was charged for this journey. I thought I might be able to check online, after registering the ticket. However, registering the ticket can take 24 hours.
After the event at the library I had some time (having missed the earlier bus, so decided to register my card. There is a form to fill out online, which is not too complicated. At the end of the process I was offered a "receipt", but I did not have a printer available. These was also a receipt number offered, but this was so long it was impractical to write it down (the library was closing and I had to leave). I thought I would simply wait for ACTON to email me the details.
At that point I realised I had not been asked for an email address, not to set a user-id. So exactly how ACTON send me my registration details was unclear. Today checking the web site I see a "check your balance" page which asks for the card number, my date of birth and the answer to the "secret question" (which seems a bizarre way to provide security). Entering these details, the two bus trips were displayed. The first trip cost $2.52 and the second $2. It would appear I was overcharged 50 cents for the first trip because the MyWay reader was not working correctly.
Your Card Transactions
|Date / Time||TX Reference No / Type||Boarding Type||Route||Stop Name||TX Amount||Deduction Type||Payment Type||SV Balance|
|May 3 2011 9:17PM||000006 Normal TAP OFF - Stored Value||6A||Macpherson St opposite O||$-2||NORMAL||Stored Value||$15.48|
|May 3 2011 9:03PM||000005 Normal TAP ON||INITIAL||6A||Langton Cr Car Park||$17.48|
|May 3 2011 9:03PM||000004 Synthetic TAP OFF - Stored Value||6A||Langton Cr Car Park||$-2.52||DEFAULT||Stored Value||$17.48|
|May 3 2011 4:58PM||000003 Normal TAP ON||INITIAL||319A||Westfield Shopping Centr||$20|
|May 3 2011 3:21PM||000002 Initial Product Issue - Cash||$20||Cash||$20|
|May 3 2011 3:21PM||000001 Card Fee Update - Cash||$0||Cash||$20|
Also I have two unused old magnetic stripe tickets which in theory I can exchange for credit on my new ticket. However, this requires filling in a form and sending the tickets by paper mail, or at a Canberra Connect shopfront or MyWay centre. The refunds can't be made where tickets are sold.