Friday, January 27, 2006

My trainspotter friend in London likes to keep me up on the latest developments in public transport in his hometown. Mentioned that the Tube had switched over to a refillable pass system that they call the Oyster Card. Interesting. Since I'm a rare bird, a bipedal commuter, I'm not always up on what the MBTA's up to. Did find out that we have a similar pass setup here. To further his efforts towards global public transport understanding, my friend compiled this list:

Boston > Charlie Card (Named after the Kingston Trio tune, of course)
London > Oyster Card
Hong Kong > Octopus
Manchester > Readycard
SmarTrip > Washington DC
Touch 'N Go > Malaysia

Though from an engineering standpoint he finds these passes pretty nifty, from a privacy point of view, they're a little unnerving as movements can be tracked (and attached to a name). This did strike me as a fair bit Big Brother-y.

Asked him if he knew anything about the bit transit strike in NYC last month. He didn't. He did send a little hint* that they've got similar problems (not all can be pinned on privatisation and the Thatcher, either) with the Underground.

*funny as all getout, but definitely not work safe, for the faint of heart, or for those not interested in quaint britishisms.

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