Friday, February 29, 2008

...Where did I put that Swiper?

I can be absent-minded. I mis-place things from time to time. Sometimes, I just plain lose them. It's not fun, I'm not proud, but it is what it is.

I've been purchasing the CDTA Swiper since June 2007. During that time, I dropped it once when I was walking into my office, but was very fortunate that a colleague found the little bus pass before I even realized it was missing! Then, there was the very cold evening of February 27, 2008. I boarded a bus using my Swiper, but the next morning when I was getting ready for my day, the Swiper was missing. Not sure what happened to it, but I know why it happened. I didn't follow my own rule, my routine. The routine is this: get on the bus, find a location to sit or stand, put the card away in the special spot in my bag where I can always find it. The critical error happened here: I was on the phone when I get on the bus, and I STAYED on the phone, distracted -- didn't follow my own procedure, the card never got put away.

Now, if I were in my city of origin, NYC and my MetroCard had disappeared, I could be reimbursed! Here in CDTA-land, I cannot find any information on the CDTA website about such a consumer-friendly option when a card is lost or stolen.

I try to look at the bright side of things -- so here's the positive aspect of my lost card: at least it happened at the end of the day on the 27th of February - the shortest month of the year. I only wound up paying an additional $6 to buy two $3 day cards. True, if it weren't a leap year, I would have only had to pay an additional $3, but I'm trying to see the bright side right now.

Actually, this takes me to something else I just don't understand about CDTA. I don't get why monthly passes (aka Swipers) -- both the 7-day pass and the 5-day pass - are valid from the 1st day of the month through the last day/ week day (if you have a 5-day pass) of the month, rather than the very consumer-friendly option of "good for 30 days from the date of first use"... just like the METROCARD!

Imagine deciding that you're ready to start riding the bus regularly, you want to buy a 7-day Swiper, so you can take 2 buses each way to and from work Monday through Friday, and it happens to be the 10th of January when you make this decision. Would you get your money's worth if you purchased a Swiper and started using it that day? I don't want to do the math -- maybe you do. I think our time would be better spent letting CDTA know that they're on the right track, yet there's so much more they could be doing to provide quality service to the residents and visitors of our region. A public meeting is coming up in April to be held at one of my favorite places; let's make it there.

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