Somewhat strange happenings on the train over the last couple of weeks makes me wonder if the RR (and taxpayers) are being cheated out of millions in lost fares:
-An agent, not a conductor and someone I did not recognize, was performing at "ticket audit" of all passengers. Said individual took your ticket and scrutinized it for about twenty seconds. No bar code scan or any other kind of cross check was observed. It seemed like most everyone in my area "passed".
-Conductors are now including a very detailed description of the penalties for the "copying/counterfeiting/re-selling" of RR passes. This is new as of last week.
-A recent article
in the Journal said that in the past year ridership was around 1.4 million passengers and ticket revenue was $1.9 million. Huh? The numbers make a bit more sense if the "passengers" are in fact boardings. In this case you would have around 700,000 individuals using the train. This works out to an average roundtrip fare of around $2.71 per passenger. this does not seem right. My trips between Albuquerque and Santa Fe run around $6 round trip ($7 if purchased on the train).
-The online ticket purchase system is pretty prehistoric. The "ticket" is a web page you print out and show to the conductor. If you possess even the most basic HTML editing skills you can alter the dates and type of pass, changing a daily to a monthly and so on (of course I am not condoning this)
-The conductors appear to check two things: that you have a ticket and the dates on the ticket are valid.
Given how easy it is to either counterfeit or simply copy an online ticket it would not surprise me if some enterprising soul is making bank selling knock-off passes at a steep discount. The numbers certainly point to something fishy, and the lost revenue appears to be in the millions.
Should the Rail Runner folks consider investing in some bar code technology? Seems like an easy fix.