Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pay Up, Part San (Tre, Trois...)

An excerpt from the 1993 Ahad report on SkyTrain.

3:12 Revenue leakage: There is significant revenue leakage through the barrier free SkyTrain stations. This leakage is estimated at between $10 million to $20 million annually. The current fare evasion monitoring program is not statistically verifiable and the V.P. of SkyTrain concurs with this. Please see Pete Marwick Report of March 6, 1992 confirming FALSIFICATION of fare evasion reports.

It's simple enough, the management of SkyTrain (Translink?) is grossly incompetent.

By the way, and apropos of my insistence that ShyTRain is responsible for thr spread of addictions and crime, do you know what the police routinely call the system?

The Surrey Sewer Line.

1 comment:

Light Rail Guy said...

Two pieces of correspondence about turnstiles and fare-gates.

1) "In Nottingham we have had conductors on the trams from the start. This follows experiments with other systems in Sheffield and Birmingham which reverted to conductors before our line opened. The advantages are many:

* Fare evasion is more difficult - providing the conductor(s) can get
around everyone.
* Vandalism is reduced
* People feel safer
* The system is versatile - more conductors can be rapidly deployed to busy trams
* There are conductors on the platforms at the busy stations
* Conductors present a friendly face - ours are ready with local
advice such as the best place to buy Indian sweets
* In an emergency, trained staff are on hand.
* Driver security is enhanced - there are at least 2 staff on every
* Help is at hand for disabled and elderly thus reducing station dwell
* Every conductor also drives so there is an enhanced pool of drivers to ensure timetable reliability.

The downsides are cost and security. I'm convinced the benefits outweigh the costs. As far as security is concerned there have been few incidents (Nottingham has a reputation and the tram deliberately runs through areas in need of regeneration). Any incidents, no matter what, are treated very seriously and banning orders are regularly issued. The trams are generally busy enough, there is CCTV everywhere linked to the control room and the major police station across the road from the depot.

At very busy times and in the city centre, for one stop journeys it is
impossible for the conductors to get around everyone but pre-bought tickets are now encouraged with the city-wide universal (tram, train & bus) ticket being very popular. The latter involves 4 independent major operators and
about 10 smaller ones."

Steve Barber

Councillor for Beeston Rylands

Broxtowe Borough Council
Town Hall
Foster Ave

2) "I have been rather busy lately and have refrained from getting involved in this correspondence, however I think a few thoughts may help.

The honour system is used by the overwhelming majority of LRT systems throughout the world, it has many advantages;

* it minimises the amount of equipment on the stop
* it assists in quick loading and unloading (an important point when you are attempting to provide a reasonably fast service with frequent stops)
* it means that passengers can flow off the stops in all directions rather than being forced to go through restrictive gates, this means that the size
of the platforms can be minimised
* it avoids the need for large, covered, intrusive and expensive gate plazas
* it means that stops can be unmanned - and don't tell me that they can be remotely monitored because that is unacceptable when dealing with MIPs or emergencies

There is also the consideration that where the tramstop platforms form part of the footway it is impossible to define a 'Paid Area' where tickets can be checked. Tramlink has had difficulties in this area and the only solution is
to deploy teams of Inspectors who can stand at each door of the tram and stop people as they alight.

Turnstiles and paid areas can only work where there are high platforms, if the platform is only +350mm there is nothing to stop people walking along the track and stepping up onto the platform after they have passed the
turnstiles. One then has to have long sections of fencing to make this unattractive - say 100m long, but of course it must be un-climbable fencing if it is to
work. So we now have 2m high chainlink fencing stretching 100m from the platform in either direction... completely unacceptable in a civilised, developed urban environment. If you want to see how unattractive this can be go and have
a look at the DLR as it runs along the Royal Albert Dock Spine Road. Of course in the DLR case it is the automatic operation and not the fare collection system that required the fencing, but compare what the DLR looks like in the
centre of the road with what a good modern French tramway looks like in the centre of a 'grand boulevard'.

If one looks at the Curitiba Busway one can see waiting 'tubes' at stops. The passenger pays to get into the tube and then waits in an enclosed environment until the bus arrives. The bus stops with the doors at the openings in
the tube, the boarding pallets deploy an passengers board and alight. Quick and neat - BUT ONLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE IT IS A HIGH FLOOR SYSTEM WITH LEVEL BOARDING ONTO A BUS WITH A FLOOR HEIGHT OF c.900mm. This means that very few
passengers will attempt to jump up from the road into the paid area in the tube, its far easier to walk up the ramp and pay. This will not be possible if the waiting area platform is only 350mm above road height.

The solution with an honour system is to have frequent, random inspections, backed up with a fairly high Penalty Fare system. It does help if people have to carry ID cards as this enables details to be taken quickly, in 'free' countries such as the UK one has to rely on rapid computer cross referencing with the Electoral Role etc to establish passenger identity and bona fides.
London makes it work on DLR and Tramlink, although the buses seem to be struggling a bit. I have seen it claimed that DLR and Tramlink have a fare evasion
rate of less than 6%, which would be good for ANY fare system. Of course it also helps if the majority of passengers are using multi-ride tickets/travelcards/smartcards, these reduce the 'occasions of sin' as the Pope would say;
if every journey is a single cash fare then the temptation to 'forget' to pay is higher.

One can compare PPOP/honour systems and turnstiles with the situation in other forms of retailing. Honour ticketing is the Supermarket, one makes it
easy for the purchaser to use the store and reduces staff numbers - this increases turnover whilst reducing costs and makes it economic to accept a certain
amount of 'shrinkage'/theft. The turnstile system is a more old fashioned shop with everything behind counters and shop assistants selling the
merchandise; slow, old fashioned and expensive - acceptable if you are Tiffany/Cartier - but a bit ridiculous if one is in the mass market.

I am currently advising on the design and financing of a new LRT system in a country abroad, their initial thinking was to use turnstiles - as on the
local Metro, we have had long discussions with the promoters to persuade them that this a completely dotty idea - so believe me, I have recently had to
develop these arguments in a real life situation !

I do not believe that experienced transit economists would propose
turnstiles - looks to me like something thatdoctrinaire 'Chicago School' economists would think up and we know that most of them are barking mad politicos, not
transit experts.

Here endeth the lesson...

Scott McIntosh
(Scott McIntosh is a noted transit planner/expert, located in the UK.)