Monday, April 14, 2014

New transportation systems

We've developed a pretty solid public transportation routine for our trips out to Aspö, at least for those times we're not mooching a ride or borrowing Marcia's car!

However, everything's been thrown into confusion now. We used to buy a strip of coupons for our travels on the bus and subway. Each journey simply decremented part of the strip. Anything unused on one visit's strip could be used our next time over.

However, that system has been replaced by a stored-value access card, much like the Oyster cards in the UK. Fill it up with money, and touch the reader whenever you get on a subway or bus. Quick, simple, and much less susceptible to the fraud that paper coupons allowed.

Marcia gave me one of her access cards, I filled it with kronor, and I was on my way. That transition to the new system was smooth.

However, I had another wrinkle when I boarded the Waxholms boat. Many years ago, we bought an access card from Waxholmsbolaget. I could pay 750 kronor and receive 1000 worth of credit on the card. Everytime we traveled, I popped in my card and the boat trip's value was deducted from the 1000. It was quick, simple, and a 25% discount!

When I used my card on my last trip, though, I was told that the cards weren't being used any longer, although it was unclear just what was replacing them. I asked at the ticket office in Stavsnäs and didn't get a full answer. It appeared the Waxholms card was going away in favor of the new access card. But not yet because of technical problems, and the 25% discount was probably going away. I was told to keep my Waxholms card "just in case" but I couldn't refill it just now. Very confusing.

I'm glad to report that it's not just me, the dumb tourist, who's confused. The local skargarden newspaper ran an article (in English and Swedish) recently which captured my confusion perfectly.

I'll be curious to see what system is in place when we're back this June!

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