Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 3 Go Card loopholes

We have been interrogating the Go Card system and have found it to be incredibly complex. We put this complexity down to attempting to integrate the ancient no-returns rule that has existed on Brisbane Transport buses since they begun 46 years ago. It is also a product of the enormous size of the Translink network and the need to accommodate very long and short trips under the same system of transfer rules.

After speaking with a wide range of Translink users we have discovered some of the loopholes that are being exploited by ordinary people trying to make public transport more affordable. They involve choosing when and where it is better to ignore the advice from Translink on when touch on or touch off at un-gated train stations, and how the no-returns rule is not enforced through the Go Card system. These loopholes are not being policed by Translink in any way and it is next to impossible to be caught using them.

  1. The return journey to the shops
    Bus drivers and QR ticket inspectors are instructed to enforce the ancient no-returns rules on paper tickets but the Go Card system does not recognise a return journey. This is great news for those on a budget who have only one bus route in their area. If you are able to touch on for your return trip within an hour of touching off you can affect a return journey. If you follow the instructions on the Translink website you would be charged twice. If you had a paper ticket you may be asked to buy another ticket.

  2. The half day journey (this loophole has been closed)
    Every time you touch off with your Go Card the clock starts ticking and after an hour your journey will expire. The Translink website specifies that all journeys on the Go Card are to be one way but allows up to 6 hours from when you first touch on to complete your journey . Because the Go Card system does not police return journeys, by using the train you can make a return journey of up to 6 hours simply by touching on again before leaving the station after your first trip (does not apply at gated stations). Under the Go Card transfer rules you must touch on for your last trip within 3.5 hours of first touching on, so if your first trip has taken 30 minutes, simply touch back on, leave the station and return in time to touch off at your final destination before the 6 hours has expired.

  3. The trip stretch
    This is similar to the half day journey except it involves delaying touching off at non-gated stations. If you have an appointment that will last more than an hour, then by simply not touching off when you exit the station and then touching off when you return to the station you can delay the start of the 1 hour transfer window. After you have touched off you then touch on for your return trip. The Go Card system thinks your first trip has been longer than it actually was and you save yourself from being charged twice. 

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