Another “glitch” caused King County Metro to lose $76,400 in one day. Apparently, card readers on were inoperable on buses. As a result, those with bus cards could not use them. Via MyNorthwest.com:
“About 60 percent of riders use ORCA cards to pay for their trips on Metro buses. The pre-paid cards are tapped on a reader when boarding the bus. But those readers weren’t operational on June 8. Riders were not barred from using the bus, however, and were allowed to ride free that day.”
King County Metro, of course, had an excuse. According to Metro, a “calendar error with a new ORCA data load schedule didn’t update with the current bus schedule data.” MyNorthwest.com:
“Basically, two different computer programs didn’t sync properly and they could not communicate. A total of 870 buses were reporting problems with their card readers before 7:30 a.m, however, a total of 1,000 buses reported some problem with the readers throughout the day. Metro has about 1,280 buses on the road each day.”
In the past, individual busses faced similar “glitches,” This is the first widespread incident of such a system failure.
Technical problems are understandable — mistakes happen. Repeated mistakes, however, become frustrating when they are due to seemingly endemic incompetence — something Metro has exhibited in the past.
A perfect example of such incompetence is Metro’s decision to “get rid of one trash can near a bus stop because too many people were using it.” A trashcan at a bus stop in Seattle’s Alki neighborhood filled quickly (it was right outside of a Starbucks). So, rather than add an extra trash bin or get a larger one, Metro decided to get rid of the “too often used” trash bin altogether.
Apparently, litter is preferable to getting a larger trash bin.
This is the incompetence that plagues King County Metro — and so many other government agencies. Unfortunately, it’s incompetence that all too often impacts working families, and their pocketbooks.