04/05/2013

Thefts from TPG ticket distribution machines

I often wondered what was the error code 07 which prevents anyone from buying a bus/train ticket. Now I know that it can be theft.


I very frequently take the Coppet-Pont Rouge train to the main railway station: sometimes I switch to an airport train, sometimes to a bus or tram, sometimes to walk somewhere. This morning, not for the first time, I saw a queue around the Pont Céard Swiss Railways (CFF) ticket distribution machine. Ah yes, I thought: the Geneva Public Transport (TPG) ticket distributor is blocked again, and people are having to use the more complicated ticket machine of the Swiss Railways. This causes problems when the train arrives while there is still a queue to get tickets, but I know that this is no excuse if one boards the train without a ticket. Unsurprisingly, one cannot tell the driver of the problem and then get a ticket at the next stop!

In my experience, the usual reason for a non-working TPG distributor is an error code "07" indication on the little display, and I used to wonder what this meant! Maybe no more paper, or ink, to print a ticket? Maybe a power glitch (Control, Alt, Delete reboot on a PC)!

This time, however, a TPG employee was there opening the ticket machine, so I asked the question: what is this error 07? He said that it should mean that the money collection tin inside was full of coins, and when a few coins fell onto the floor I thought that was a reasonable explanation. However, it was not the actual explanation: the real explanation was that the door of the tichet machine and the money box had both beenforced open in order to steal the contents.

I wonder how many "error 07" cases are due to such a theft, and how much money is being lost! Presumably, the receipts are somehow divided between the TPG and the CFF according to some algorithm. Then there is also the interesting thought that the Geneva initiative on TPG fares, which now has to be revoted because of irregularities in the initial voting procedure (Genferei is, I believe, the description word used by the Swiss German people to describe Geneva SNAFUs) could menace the system of tickets covering all Geneva transport systems.

What to do about this? Closed circuit cameras trained on these ticket machines? A very noisy alarm system? More use of smart cards? More resilient (costly) ticket distribution systems?

What a sad world we live in!

14:11 | Permalink | Comments (0) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

The comments are closed.