An Open Letter to Trimet Management
Please do not phase out monthly paper tickets!
I've tried using the new Hop Fastpass to ride the MAX. I absolutely hate it. I’ve gone back to my monthly paper ticket. Here’s why;
- Hop Fastpass is inconvenient. You must ‘tap’ the card every time you use it. That means you must have the card handy every time you board. And ulike busses, where the fare can be validated on-board the bus, MAX riders must use validators located on the platform prior to boarding. None of the readers are under the sheltered part of the platform. Now imagine a situation where the train is about to leave, you are in a big hurry, it’s raining, and the person in front of you is digging in their purse trying to find their card… exasperating! Or more commonly, you’ve just boarded, you score a seat, the doors close, and realize you forgot to tap. What do you do? Who needs the stress!
- Hop Fastpass readers are not 100% reliable. I’m told Trimet is still working out bugs, but it is unsettling when the thing doesn’t work. To be fair, in the two months I used the Hop card, it only happened once, but who needs the added anxiety? Riding MAX is unpleasant under the best of circumstances.
- Fare inspections take longer. On those very rare occasions when my fare is checked by a fare inspector, a Hop Fastpass must be physically handed to the inspector so they can swipe the card to verify that it was validated prior to boarding. It takes at least a minute (a lifetime when standing in a crowded MAX train.) A monthly paper ticket can be inspected by simply holding it up for the inspector to see. No need to remove from its carrying case then hand it over to the inspector.
- You can’t tell what it’s worth by looking at it. You must use the app or web site to know what’s left on the card. Am I still covered by my last tap? You know what a monthly paper ticket is worth by just looking at it. Auto-refill? I don’t think so. Sorry Trimet, but I don’t trust any of your systems - financial or otherwise. No way am I going to trust you doing anything “auto” with my bank card!
- Trimet is recording my every move and selling the information to advertisers! That’s why Trimet wants you to ‘tap’ every time you ride. They collect detailed information on each and every trip. Location, date, time. Why? Because that data is valuable to advertisers. According to Trimet’s privacy terms, "...third parties may place cookies, web beacons...[on my devices]...to collect information that may be used... to deliver advertising". WTF? You should pay me to use the card! And why don’t I have the option to opt out? I don’t want you selling my data! Look what Facebook did!
In order for a new technology to supersede an old technology, it must be cheaper, faster, better. It must benefit the user. From my perspective, the Hop Fastpass does none of these things. I’m sure it benefits Trimet. But as far as I’m concerned, Trimet should have spent its $30 million dollars on making Portland mass transit safer, faster, and more reliable.
Hop Fastpass = Epic Fail
Keep the monthly paper tickets! Please.