Is a piece of tech meant to make things better causing unfair treatment among people?
We’ve already covered the NMB Tap Card, and concluded that it’s a useful but flawed utility due to how it’s being rolled out. The card has however found a genuine reliable use case in the ZUPCO transport system, and it’s implementation there is one of the best use cases around. Except unfortunately even in it’s best use scenario, a problems has still arisen, one that makes it seem like the card brings in a sort of technology related classism even in common public transportation.
Now if you’ve ever been to a ZUPCO bus line, you may know we are talking about. Everytime a bus arrives, the conductor tends to take passengers using NMB’s card first. We get why, the NFC based cards are quick and easy to process and it allows a conductor to deal with a number of people quickly before having to fiddle around with any money. The only problem here is the general atmosphere that these ZUPCO lines have. People wait for hours on end in never ending lines just to get home, and for you to have rushed to be first in a line only for ten or even more people who got there much later to get in front with you simply because you’re using cash and they have cards doesn’t exactly leave anyone feeling too good about things. This is also without considering that the way some of these conductors handle lines makes things a lot worse. When you have someone who takes in over 20 Tap Card passengers before letting a single cash passenger in, which just causes a huge unfair advantage for anyone with a Tap Card, that some people in lines haven’t been all that pleased about. In fact, one could argue the preferential treatment creates almost two different classes in the ZUPCO buses, those with cards and those without, with two lines at some terminals to even create a difference between the two. To be fair, this isn’t actually a problem with the Tap Card itself, it’s a problem with how it’s utilized in those bus lines. But that’s nearly always been the case when technology causes any version of a divide amongst people. The tech itself tends to not be designed to caused that divide, in fact most tech is meant to create level playing fields wherever it is being deployed, but the people that get their hands on that tech are often the ones who dictate that. In this case, bus conductors can cause whole cases of unrest in environments that will already be tense especially at the end of the day when everybody just wants to get home. It’s never a good sight to see, and even as a Tap Card user I don’t exactly feel great about getting into a bus earlier when some older, perhaps more tired individual might lose a seat in the bus because I simply had the preferred way of payment for the bus conductor.
Now is there a way to fix this issue? Well we already talked about how products like the Tap Cards should really just be a standardized implementation rather than exclusive to one bank or company, and a “Bus Pass” style NFC card created for use on ZUPCO lines and distributed in much higher amounts (because good luck finding a Tap Card right now) could help even with our never-ending cash crisis. But we won’t know how long that would take for our fair government to implement (please surprise us and prove it won’t be long at all) or even if such an idea would come to their attention. All we can do for now it seems is appeal to our conductors, and ask that they at least practice the greatest amount of fairness possible. How about just having one line for starters, and processing a payment as it is, get backup from your inspector if you need to, but stop causing all these divisions on transport meant for the general public please. You’ll make a tense situation a whole lot worse and trust us, the country already has enough problems, bus line fights don’t need to be one of them.
Tell us your thoughts on this, especially if you use an NMB Tap Card and/or a ZUPCO regularly.