Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eurovison 2009

Yes it is Eurovison time again. The final is taking place on the 16th of May in Moscow as Russia won last year. The semi finals are on SBS on Friday the 15th and Saturday 16th, and the final will be broadcast on Sunday the 19th. I don't think I have ever really watched the whole thing, only flicked it on and off during the ads of another show. I probably won't watch the whole thing this year either. Better get to the reason for this post though.

Last night I was watching a video on YouTube (if you are really interested it was a video demonstrating games on the new mac mini part 3 of 3, also parts 1 and 2) that had a really catchy song over the credits. After googling the lyrics I found out that it is actually Germany's entry into this years Eurovision song contest. The song is Miss Kiss Kiss Bang by Alex swings Oscar sings. Alex is a German DJ and was a member of the 90's techno group U96, while Oscar is a "mexican broadway musical theatre performer" (quote from wikipedia entry) who lives in Munich. The song itself is like a cross between something out of the blues brothers and a Latino pop star (ie ricky martin/enrique iglasias etc). the song is mega catchy as a Eurovision song should be, usually they are bloody awful. Not that I've heard any of the other entries, but usually they are pretty awful.

In the video Oscar is the singer, while Alex is the guy in the sunglasses or behind the piano. I can't get it out of my head now and so I hope to pass it on to others.

Friday, April 24, 2009

MYKI, Trams, Fares and Ticketing etc


So it appears that MYKIi is full steam ahead, with the system rolling out across buses in regional cities. One revelation that had not occurred to me, but was revealed over at Melbourne on Melbourne on Transit (and here), is that short term disposable tickets will be smartcards. There is no printing on the ticket issued by the bus driver to tell you what it is or how long it will be valid, it just comes of a pile of identical blank tickets (much like they do today with metcards on buses). I had imagined that the system would be similar to Perth and S.E. Queensland where short term tickets(ranging from 2 hour / single trip and dailys etc) are printed on thermal paper by the ticket machine or bus driver. The reason I thought this was that I noticed that the ticket machines at Perth rail stations are the same as those seen in the MYKI discovery centre at Southern Cross.

Examples of short term cash tickets.
From L to R, Brisbane from vending machine,
Perth from Bus driver and Perth from vending machine.

Thinking about it though retail tickets will probably be pre encoded, and therefore will probably have some sort of text denoting what they are. Vending machine tickets could also have printing applied as they are issued. This leaves just the fact that there is no way to tell how long the ticket is valid without pringing, although tram issues probably could as they would be tagged on as they are issued from the machine. This leaves only the bus issues with no physical indication at all. Doesn't seem very consistent or user friendly to me.

2. Tram Fares and Ticketing

On Sunday I took a tram ride along Bourke St, having driven to the city (I know I'm evil but I had a car and I had to go somewhere else on the way) I didn't have a ticket and so attempted to buy a city saver. As it turned out the machine was just spitting out all coins fed in, so I got a free ride. As I was pondering the fare structure on the sticker above the machine it occurred to me that having trams in both zone 1 and 2 is too complicated when considering that by and large the tram network is in zone 1. I'm not saying that the 3 tram lines (or is it 4?) that extend into zone 2 territory should should be curtailed at the zone boundary, but that tram ticketing would be greatly simplified it if they were treated as a zone 1 service no matter where they are.

I think I just like the simplified idea of having a single fare system for trams. Either buy a daily or a 2 hour, adult or concession, no need to worry about zones. I don't think it would or could happen with the current zone system as it would be unfair on people connecting too/from a bus or train in zone 2 .

3. Sunday Saver

On a related issue, I still can't believe they couldn't find a work around for dispensing Sunday savers from ticket machines. Actually IIRC it was never intended if a certain poster to some of the public transport forums is to be believed . On the tram I noticed some people using Sunday Savers and I couldn't help but feel that those buying tickets on the tram (this was on my return along Bourke St on tram that had a working ticket machine) were getting ripped off. The seniors daily button is useless on a Sunday as all seniors can apply and use a free Sunday ticket. Why not program the tram ticket machines to dispense a sunday saver when that button is pressed on a sunday?