January 23, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut
Revenue Scam Validator
The new Compass Card that San Diego’s SANDAG/MTS has rolled out is nothing more than a way to generate revenue, via citations for the city, and I’ll explain to you why. Prior to these reusable, reloadable plastic cards, monthly pass purchasers were issued beautiful, colorful, local artist produced paper passes. We could buy them starting on the 20th of the previous month and once purchased merely needed to be kept on your person to make us good to go. For the next 30 days, we merely had to show it to bus drivers when boarding buses and trolley guards while riding the trolley. That was it… Simple & seamless. One monthly purchase meant that we were golden for a month, as long as we kept our pass in our purse, bag, wallet or lanyard.
These new Compass Cards have taken away simplicity and one time remembrance and substituted an avenue for monthly pass holders to be issued citations on a daily basis. My explanation will start with the photo below.
6 New Ways For San Diego Trolley Guards To Issue Citations
What you see above are the new rules for those of us that fork out $72 for a monthly transit pass in San Diego, handed to me by a trolley security guard. Typos aside, let me just type this all out so that we can be clear; If you do not tap your $72 Compass Card when you get off a trolley to board a bus, get off a bus to board a trolley, board a trolley at any station, get off of a trolley and board another trolley, get off The Coaster and board a trolley, get off a trolley and board The Coaster, get off a bus and board The Coaster or board a bus, you will be issued a citation. On the OTHER hand, if you buy a $5 daily paper pass, you can do/board any of the above WITHOUT tapping anything and without being issued a citation. This is wrong on so many levels that it almost makes me want to go out and buy a car.
There are a couple news stories out already that discuss just how flawed Compass Cards are. Way back in August off 2009, Sign On San Diego reported just how buggy the software that controls/monitors Compass Cards is. On January 10, 2010, San Diego’s 10News reported that visually impaired (blind) trolley riders are having trouble with Compass Cards because the the Compass Card validators are not in uniform locations. Sign On San Diego then reported again on January 17th, 2010 that regardless of the buggy software being fixed, San Diego trolley riders were still questioning the need to tap their prepaid $72 cards at EVERY SINGLE leg of their commute. Click on any of the underlined text above to read the stories.
Public Transportation In San Diego Used To Be Art
There is just one final thing I would like to talk about regarding San Diego’s new Compass Card system, and that is how they are cloaking an invasion of every Compass Card holder’s privacy by claiming the new Compass Cards will, “…streamline and expedite fare collection.” What users of the Compass Card may not know is that every time you tap your card, your riding activity is logged & stored on a Compass Card server. What that means is that if you register your Compass Card with SANDAG/MTS, not only will your riding activity be logged, but the name, address and credit card info will also be attached to your card. The Compass Card Website states that a benefit of owning a Compass Card is that it is secure against loss or theft, but only if you register your card with your name and other personal information.
So take your pick people… Pay $72 and risk a citation at every leg of your commute for the following 30 days on the San Diego Trolley, or $5 for a day pass the with absolute guarantee that you will not receive a citation until midnight that night. Compass Cards are a scam and should be discontinued or at least only provided as as OPTION for the old paper monthly pass.