15 November 2011

A Key Moment

The Key

On the Citybus web site: We are currently experiencing problems with our on-line top up facility for the key. We are working as fast as we can to make sure the site is up and running as soon a possible. You can still top up your key in our travel centre in Debenhams, or if you already have a 1 week ticket on your card, you can top this up on the bus via the driver. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will keep you updated on our progress in getting this issue resolved.

It seems to have been a national issue with The Key rather than just local to Plymouth. Certainly on the Go North East Facebook page there has been a lot of attention paid to the problems it is causing.

We've had a technical problem over the weekend which is preventing Key cards from activating. We're currently looking at this issue and trying to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Unlike in Plymouth where there seems to have been little comment, Go North East saw an avalanche of comments.

Go North East We have a procedure in place where the driver should be taking the last 4 digits of the card and allowing travel.

It seems though that many drivers were unaware of these procedures:

This is ridiculous, I've had 2 cards in 6 weeks and not been able to use either, customer service I've spoken to haven't got a clue and bus drivers I've encounter are plain rude and look at you like your lying, and on top of that I've had to borrow money for busfare because my fare for the month is on my card! Before we know it the snow will be down and won't have buses on the roads again so not much chance of using them! IF it gets sorted I won't be using it again that's for certain! Oh and the driver didn't ask for my card today - I had to pay!

It does appear that the problem has been fixed now though

We have been notified that the on-line system is now up and running. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

It does show that for all the benefits these cards bring, when they don't work it causes massive headaches. The company have have all the back up procedures in place but unless the drivers are aware of these then as far as the passengers are concerned then they don't exist. I have not had any problems with bus pass but I do know what it is like when a bank card fails to work. The last time it happened to me the cashier got very snotty and very loudly explained that my card had been declined and I would have to pay. This was not possible so I had to leave the goods behind. By the time I left everyone in the shop was aware that my card had been declined. When I got home a quick phone call to the bank confirmed it must have been a faulty card as there was no issue with my account, which is what the cashier had very loudly implied. The next day I got a new card. This was quite a few years ago but I still remember it as if it was yesterday! It sounds as if a lot of passengers up North had the same experience with their Key Cards.

From the lack of comments on the Plymouth Citybus Facebook page it seems that Plymouth passengers have been treated better. Either way I am sure many passengers and no doubt many drivers were all harking back to the good old days of printed bus passes that didn't need computers to work!

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