Sunday 30 March 2014

All Gas and Goodness in Aberdeen [2]

 No. 5 New Ticket Technology 

You will soon be able to pay for your bus ride using a mobile phone. This is yet another Aberdeen initiative from First. 
Let's hope the canny Aberdonians APPreciate it! There's two bonny Scots lassies looking very happy here! And first have painted the top of a bus to win over potential customers who own their own helicopter.
A huge untapped market there.

But we can't let Aberneen have all the glory. A similar project has been announced in Worcester. Where they, too, have smiling young ladies all ready to scan their whatsits ...
... and advertisements APPlied to the rooftop.
How clever of First to find at least six sets of identical twins with one of each pair living in both localities!
But Aberdeen trumps Worcestershire ...
... with APPropiate systems for both eras.
And, talking of Apps ...

First's App in Bristol now does fares.
Now here's a question for the techies. Can the Bristol-type App talk to the Aberdeen-type fare-paying App, allowing the user to check a fare then pay from the same screen. No, fbb didn't think so.

Apparently another fares system is being developed. On boarding the bus, the passenger uses the Device for Revealing Individual Value Effective Revenue to find his fare, then pays with little brown, silver and gold coloured discs of metal. The system is almost instant and very unlikely to suffer loss of battery power at a critical moment. Amazingly, the passenger needs no special APP to use this revolutionary technology.

coloured metal discs

And for those who sigh disapprovingly at fbb's Luddite tendencies. Consider this. Three days ago, fbb called at his local sweetshop, parcel office, grocery store, mobile phone top up shop, lottery ticket seller, ice cream stall, pay point point; oh yes, and newsagent.
As fbb waited to buy his copy of "i", the lady in front was paying for her paper and couple of bars of cholesterol. As she prepared to hand over a handful of those new-fangled coloured metal discs, the shop assistant exclaimed, "the till has just taken your money."

One very confused customer still had the specie in her hand. It transpired that the till had "read" her "in out, shake it all about and no PIN needed" bank card, safely (so she thought) double-stowed in purse in handbag. The on-card facility had been provided without her authority by the bank. Somewhat annoyed, she set off home to "get it taken off."

New technology, be afraid - very afraid.
It reminds fbb of a song!

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
It's no fuss.
And I keep within my handbag sev'ral pounds and pence
For the bus
The company gives me an App
Will it be a fearful trap?
If my phone doesn't work at all,
Techie pride comes before a fall...

Money, money, money
Now seems funny
In a bus man's world
Money, money, money
Is still sunny
In a bus man's world
Safe the things I can do
With my bag of lovely money
In a bus man's world

fbb is not sure, but thinks the song (or something very like it) was recorded by a group called "APPA"!
Lies, damned lies and statistics.
The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881): "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli's works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Other coiners have therefore been proposed, and the phrase is often attributed to Twain himself.

During the Dawlish Collapse, the Western Daily Mail published this article.
It was railing against the bias of transport spending in favour of London and the South East and against the poor downtrodden West. The detail is revealing ...
... with 6% of expenditure (the red slice) being for us country bumpkins (m'dear) and 45% (pale blue) for the Capital and its environs. But is it as bad as that? According to "other" statistics, the South West contributes 8% to the nation's economy, whilst London and the South East is nearer 40%; figures much closer to the expenditure on transport infrastructure. Of course, then it all depends on where you draw the boundaries.

But it isn't much of an argument for building a diversionary line to avoid Dawlish alltogether. It may, however, be an argument for building a stronger sea wall!
 Next bus blog : Monday 31st March 

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