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ACTION Faulty Ticket Reading Machines

By 18 November 2009 18

My daughter has an ACTION student pass that cannot be used due to the ticket machine having issues with reading the magnetic strip. The bus driver told her that she would have to pay the fare or walk to school as her ticket is now invalid. What he failed to consider was that her pass was valid every other day this term when she traveled on that service and the problem with the ticket was caused by the ticket machine on the bus, not by her. Luckily her friend had some money to buy a ticket otherwise she would have been stranded. 

I contacted ACTION customer service who informed me that sometimes the magnetic strips fail when the weather warms up. This response was a total cop out as we had the same problem with another student pass last term in the middle of winter. I didn’t worry too much about the previous pass as it failed on the second last day of school so my daughter just paid $3.80 cash on these days.

ACTION informed me that I have to take the pass to their depot for replacement and that there will be no refund for the bus fares I was forced to pay. I have to take time off work and travel a 26km round trip, during their office hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays, to obtain a new pass as they don’t deal with kids. So far their faulty ticket machines have cost me $7.60 in term 2, $7.60 for Monday and Tuesday this week, plus the time I will be docked when not at work to get the pass replaced. All of this stuffing around for a $65.00 bus pass hardly seems worth the effort, especially when I need to make sure that my daughter carries cash in case the new ticket is rendered invalid by the dodgy, double dipping system in place on these buses. 

I was not even offered an apology by any of the ACTION staff I dealt with, instead the problem was turned around by blaming my daughter for misusing the pass.  I did inform the arrogant staff member at the depot that the pass is kept in the plastic sleeve provided and had never been bent or tampered with. He replied in a flippant manner that the kids use black textas to colour in the bar codes which stuffs up our system.  He didn’t even bother to look at her pass to see that it was still in perfect condition.

Come on ACTION, lift your game.  Why bother wasting tens of thousands on TV and radio advertising to attract new patronage?  Why don’t you look after the customers you already have by taking ownership of the problem with your ticket machines?

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18 Responses to ACTION Faulty Ticket Reading Machines
#1
TP 30006:41 pm, 18 Nov 09

You should be able to take the faulty ticket to any ACTION Interchange & they’ll exchange it for you. Many a time in the City I’ve seen kids hand the faulty ticket over, fill out a form & get a replacement. This only take 5-15 minutes (depending on what others in front of you are doing) & the Interchange staff are quiet friendly & possibly offer a few tips for the future.

Anyway in 2 or so years time, a new system will be in place where it is just a quick scan of a plastic card.

#2
MrPC6:43 pm, 18 Nov 09

ACTION is transportation of last resort. They carry those who can’t drive or won’t drive, and as such, have little competition. Just like any monopoly they can treat their customers as badly as they like.

Don’t like it? Make it a political issue.

(It won’t work though, since most ACTION users don’t vote, or if they do, tend to be either poor or rusted on, and thus are unlikely to vote for anyone but Labor no matter how bad the service gets)

#3
JC7:23 pm, 18 Nov 09

What barcode? The are mag strip.

It is a hard one though. Yes they should be more customer focused and make it easier to replace a faulty ticket and give you back any fares payed because of the faulty ticket. Though I can understand the need to pay when the ticket doesn’t work, if not then there is a loop hole that some a-hole low life could exploit.

#4
shiny flu7:47 pm, 18 Nov 09

Having spent a good deal of time on School/Action busses -in the distant but not so distant past- to and from, most of the drivers are quite nice allowing kids that forget their tickets (surprisingly happens since kids are in fact kids) or have damaged tickets to ride for ‘free’.

However there’s more than few “I took this job because I need money and if it wasn’t for beer I’d drive this bus off Scrivener Dam right now.” Just seems as if you’ve got acquainted with this particular type.

Should this happen again get you’re daughter to get the bus driver to actually read what’s printed on her ticket. It should show the type of ticket (school-term) and the date it was validated. The vast majority of bus drivers know when school is in term and should then allow your daughter on the bus. If the bus driver kicks your daughter off the bus draw up a simple case of negligence and Action will be eating their advertising campaign.

#5
GregW8:08 pm, 18 Nov 09

Lots of uninformed melodramatic rants on here lately…

1. Take it to an interchange and it will be replaced on the spot.
2. Most drivers will not stop someone boarding due to a failed card.
3. ACTION is in the process of replacing the cards with contactless smart cards. Contracts have been signed.
4. It’s only $1.95 per trip. You understand why they cannot reimburse everyone who claims XYZ right?

#6
bd848:28 pm, 18 Nov 09

I think ACTION are very aware of the faults with their ticketing system. I have never heard of a driver refusing a school student a ride if their ticket is faulty – the current validity of the ticket can be verified by looking at the ticket. I would think that the driver is in the wrong in this case.

Yes you do have to go to to the office at one of the interchange to have the ticket replaced, and you don’t need to be an adult to have the ticket replaced. So I don’t see why you would need to be taking the time off to do so?

The staff are correct in saying that it’s almost certain that the ticket is faulty as a result of the owner doing something to it (not necessarily deliberately). The tickets are magnetic, so keeping it away of things that play havoc with magnetic objects is a good thing to do. The ticket in a pocket with a mobile phone could probably even do it.

#7
busgirl8:31 pm, 18 Nov 09

MrPC said :

ACTION is transportation of last resort. They carry those who can’t drive or won’t drive, and as such, have little competition. Just like any monopoly they can treat their customers as badly as they like.

Don’t like it? Make it a political issue.

(It won’t work though, since most ACTION users don’t vote, or if they do, tend to be either poor or rusted on, and thus are unlikely to vote for anyone but Labor no matter how bad the service gets)

…well I don’t find your comment very PC at all…
I am a user of buses…I can drive, I even will drive if I so desire…I vote, and appreciate the privilege of being able to do so…I’m not poor by any definition of the word…I’m not sure however if I’m rusted on or not??? Am I supposed to know what that means?

While I agree that some of the bus drivers wear their cranky pants most days, the majority of them are quite pleasant…well they have been to me anyway. This particular story is unfortunate…I will stick my neck out and say that the drivers who would respond the way this one did would be very few and far between.

#8
TP 30009:03 pm, 18 Nov 09

The below page gives you what information you need:
http://www.action.act.gov.au/ticket_replacements.html

#9
damien haas10:50 pm, 18 Nov 09

Sadly, ranting here wont achieve your desired result. i dont think action have replaced their BBC Micros yet.

Write a letter, put it in an envelope with a stamp and send it to Tim Swift, Acting CEO of Action. Tell him what you want as an outcome.

Good luck.

Much if Action is run on the cheap, that which isnt is the result of a political direction to do X. Minister X dances in front of the cameras when the natural gas emission free buses arrive. Silence ensues as all the natural gas buses are quietly converted to diesel.

The archaic ticket system is another good example – its 30 years old! However be glad we dont have Myki.

When rfid ticketing technology matures and drops in price it will be very useful for actions single zone system.

This still wont stop schoolkids having stuffed up tickets. Its kids, it happens.

#10
TP 300012:29 am, 19 Nov 09

damien haas said :

This still wont stop schoolkids having stuffed up tickets. Its kids, it happens.

In Perth the main problem is the GPS co-ordinates for the bus stop haven’t been entered properly. So it makes it hard for people to tag on/off

#11
Friska11:22 am, 19 Nov 09

Why did a school kid have to pay adult fare? The price you stated is adult.

#12
MrMagoo3:23 pm, 19 Nov 09

I think its funny (sarcasm) that the people employed in Customer Service/Complaints handling have NO, Zero, Nadda, Zip training in how to deal effectively with customers. Don’t knwo why anyone would be surprised by their actions or treatment.

#13
anonymous gungahlian5:48 pm, 19 Nov 09

This happened to my ticket two weeks ago too, and I agree that it is a nusiance that the interchange kiosks are only open on those times, and I think that they should be open on the weekends. When my School Term card was deemed faulty by the machine, it did it to most of the people on my bus (SB 575) all in the same afternoon- so it would have to of been a problem with the machine at the time.

#14
Mike Crowther11:36 pm, 19 Nov 09

“Why bother wasting tens of thousands on TV and radio advertising to attract new patronage?”
Well, the short answer is, it’s not their money. It’s yours.

#15
Bluenomi8:36 am, 20 Nov 09

I can’t get over the fact it costs $3.80 for a kid to catch a school bus! Bus passes cost about $65 when I was getting them for school 10 years ago but a fare was only $1.20. Glad I drive, it’s cheaper at those prices!

#16
ChrisinTurner9:17 am, 20 Nov 09

It is important that the ticket is well protected when being carried about. They are not really designed to last for months of regular use. The new swipe cards will be a big improvement.

#17
Rad Dave10:47 am, 20 Nov 09

Deep breath in.. deep breath out..

I hope you got this off your chest and your day gets better from here..

Smile at the nice staff at ACTION and they will smile back.

Perhaps your expectations might be alittle bit too high?

#18
anonymous gungahlian4:25 pm, 20 Nov 09

ChrisinTurner said :

The new swipe cards will be a big improvement.

When will they come in?

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