Monday, May 21, 2007

Do we really need bus tickets?

Personally, I just want to just throw them away, but I don’t - for two reasons.

First, it probably affects global warming.

Second, the Western Provincial councilors got bored with debates on which road they should rename next and decided pass this new law which makes it mandatory for all the bus-people to issue tickets to all their passengers, non-compliance would mean hefty fines which I can ill-afford in these days of chintana-inflation.

Quite frankly I have no use for bus tickets. For the simple reason that when they give me the tickets, I’m kind of already on the bus. So what’s the point? It’s just an extra piece of paper I have no use for, except just binning-it. A difficult proposition in it self, because the Colombo Municipality has reached such heights in incompetence that there aren’t a lot of ‘bins’ available.

Now one can argue, there are in fact uses for tickets, after all the conductor-brother can be especially mean and say you haven’t purchased tickets when you already have, and in rare occasions those fellows who check for bus tickets (affectionately known as tikka’s) would get into the bus. Well yes, that could happen. Also theoretically I could get hit by a plane walking on the road, doesn’t mean I should buy myself a mobile radar kit.

The point in this, governments need usability testing. When bringing in new laws the geniuses who draft these laws must consider how people would actually use them and the implications on its users. If it’s too inconvenient, or doesn’t have a good enough benefit, people just won’t use them.

There are plenty of examples, how often have many of us not bothered to use that yellow line (kaha ira) when crossing the roads? Near my college for instance, there are two yellow crossings about 200 meters away on either side, most choose to just not bother and just cross in front of the gate. Now if they bothered enough to put one of those a bit more closer, perhaps people would actually use it.

Make it usable, or it would become irrelevant -something that can be clearly seen in the bus-ticket scenario, where increasingly bus-conductors are not issuing tickets for small rides. Joy.


Anonymous said...

Where I live, the city is divided into zones and you can buy a ticket for a day, 2 hours, a week, month, 6 months or a year, for a different zone and you only get the date and time stamped the first time you get onto a public transport vehicle. Once it is stamped, you can do a number of trips on any bus etc. in the zone for the specified period of time and you don't need to bother anymore.

Tickets can be pre-bought.

Think this might save the bus conductors loads of time.

There is an electronic system but I don't think it is feasible in the chaos of Colombo at least.

indi said...

I think the system is actually designed so the conductors don't steal money. They can check the tickets against the till.

It confused me until I realized that it's not for the customers at all.

Deane AKA ~CC~ said...

Yeah, i think it might be possible to buy tickets before hand here as well, but then again that comes back to 'usability'..

Indi's point is probably true though, but i'll choose to bitch about it anyway, maybe they could have a ticket-bucket (bin) or something. so i can just bin it in the bus itself when i go off.. or am i way off now..

in anycase the governments should be giving a shit about we, the ppl

jm said...

indi's right. crooked conductors are called "marty-ahs" in sl. this is to stop them from stealing money.

Anonymous said...

You have the option of buying it before and from the conductor.

This reduces the load on the conductor and gives him time to provide tickets for just those who need it at the time.

If there are fines, people will be compelled to buy it before hand. You can make them widely available in various shops around the city.

Usability does not mean having to make no effort to do something.

Deane AKA ~CC~ said...

Well, it means the least effort in most cases. buying tickets from ur sillara kadey is a bit silly.

ppl shudnt work for the system, it should be the other way round.

Anonymous said...

People can already buy tickets beforehand. These are known as season tickets.

anon said...

Not sure if I was clear.

You have two options
a) buying before hand
b) buying on the bus.

most likely people who are motivated to not have to go through the hassle of getting it in the bus, plus an incentive such as discounts for buying in bulk would buy before hand.

You don't just think of usability of the system for just the passengers, but also the bus conductor and those who have to keep account of the revenue.

Anonymous said...

aren't the season tickets restricted for a month?

I am talking about being able to buy single journey tickets before hand.

Ankit said...

i think the point of the post was, not about bus tickets alone, but attitude of government.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You can buy single journey tickets beforehand for longer trips (eg: Colombo to Trinco) and even book a seat. It wouldn't make much sense for shorter trips. Private buses are owned by individual operators, so the admin costs would be prohibitive. It's not too much of a hassle to get a ticket on a bus.