A flaw in the city’s transit day pass has left the city open to losing countless dollars, On the City, From the Burbs has learned. And prompted by this blog’s questions, the city is now investigating potential loopholes with the $10.25 day pass. Turns out the barcoded day pass can be photographed with your phone – sent to a friend – and used again. On the City, From the Burbs tested the day pass last week following a tip to the blog and confirmed photographs of the day pass allowed passengers to get on board.
“We have our team looking at this but our initial view is that there is very limited, if any ability to circumvent the system in this way.
“The paper barcoded tickets can only be scanned one time. Someone trying to scan a photocopied or picture transfer would be denied entry if the barcode had been previously utilized. “We will make sure that we look at this in detail,” wrote director of transit operations Troy Charter. Well, unfortunately, that might be what the city believes but it’s hard to be sure. Much the same answer came from Pat Scrimgeour, Director, Transit Customer Systems and Planning via the city’s communications department.
“There are a number of anti-fraud mechanisms in place throughout the new fare gate system. The suggested way to commit fraud is not possible. Each day pass or ticket purchased at a ticket machine has a unique barcode. The barcode is recorded when customers pass through the fare gates to board the O-Train and cannot be used again in the same period. Then, when the customer boards a bus, the physical ticket or day pass must be shown to the operator. A photo of the ticket or pass, which would be a forgery, would not be accepted. There are various anti-fraud features built into the system to void the ticket if used in a manner not consistent with the fare product. All anti-fraud mechanisms are being monitored and tested at the four stations during this period and evaluated throughout.”
Again, nice sentiment, but not true. No one here is advocating fraudulent behaviour, but as the city is testing its fare gates and passes, this needs to be addressed.
OTTAWA POLICE SERVICES BOARD LOSES STRONG MEMBER
Former Ottawa mayor Jim Durrell has many titles in the city, too many to mention here. He recently left the Ottawa Police Services Board, a decision he says he made of his “own accord.” No reason not to believe that. But there are unsubstantiated rumours that Durrell was pressed to stay on and become the chair of the board. Asked about that rumours several times and several different ways, Durrell initially refused to answer them, avoiding the question. Durrell left after serving two terms, plus an extension of several months.
“I left of my own accord,” Durrell told On the City, From the Burbs. “I wanted to leave, I’m a great believer in term limits,” he said, rattling off a number of posts he still holds. “You need to continue to reinvigorate and get new blood,” said Durrell, considered to have been a strong voice of reason on the OPS. “I was there long enough, you need new blood, I’m done, I just hope they appoint a strong member to replace me.”
That comment is telling, isn’t it? So too is his response to Chair Eli El-Chantiry’s leadership of the OPS and whether Durrell believes he’s doing a good job.
“I respect him and I know how hard he’s worked at it. If you heard I left in disgust, no, I believe in term limits.” Umm, no, hadn’t heard he left in disgust, but interesting he raised that! What this blog had heard is that when Durrell said he was on his way out, they tried to keep him by offering him El-Chantiry’s chair. Durrell refused to answer.
Then suddenly, after having been asked many times, Durrell decides to say he was not offered the position of board chair.
“I’m not lying to you at all, no I was not, it would not have mattered if I was, it was not what I wanted to do,” Durrell said. His delayed response seemed somehow odd. You get to decide.