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Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze, Part II

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the connecting-supply-and-demand dept.

Crime 170

McGruber (1417641) writes In December 2013, Slashdot reported the arrest of seven metro Atlanta residents for allegedly selling counterfeit MARTA Breeze cards, stored-value smart cards that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system on Atlanta's subway. Now, six months later (June 2014), the seven suspects have finally been indicted. According to the indictment, the co-conspirators purchased legitimate Breeze cards for $1, then fraudulently placed unlimited or monthly rides on the cards. They then sold the fraudulent cards to MARTA riders for a discounted cash price. Distributors of the fraudulent cards were stationed at several subway stations. The indictment claims that the ring called their organization the "Underground Railroad."

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Not counterfeit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341207)

The cards were original, not counterfeit.

Re:Not counterfeit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341245)

STFU and read the article n00b.

Re:Not counterfeit (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341297)

Anyone who talks in leet speak (or doge) needs to be kicked in the nuts.

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341317)

This

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341357)

This WHAT?

Why don't you get out from behind your keyboard and fight like a man with fists!

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341587)

If he won't I will. Meet me in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh tomorrow at noon. I'll be wearing a white tshirt with Yoda on the front. Make sure your health insurance is up to date and please use sunscreen. Living in your Mom's basement for so long leaves you vulnerable to UV.

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341691)

OK. I'll be in front of the Oyster House in a Marine uniform with 6 of my buddies.

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341991)

M.A.R.I.N.E. == Men Always Riding In Navy Equipment. What does shit sound like when it hits the fan? MAAAAAAARINE.

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342629)

OK. I'll be in front of the Oyster House in a Marine uniform with 6 of my buddies.

It takes you and 6 Marines to fight against one geek? Better stay home in the basement before you hurt yourself climbing the stairs.

Re: Not counterfeit (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 4 months ago | (#47342637)

OK. I'll be in front of the Oyster House in a Marine uniform with 6 of my buddies.

This is a version of cosplay that they could have done better with you as a consultant in the film Philadelphia.

Re: Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342343)

You're funny. And kinda fucked up. Were you dropped on your head as a child? Does mental retardation run in your family? I'm guessing you and/or your mother sniff gasoline. Have a nice day!

Re:Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341535)

At least he didn't call you a nubmuffin.

Re:Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341657)

Much violence. Wow

Re:Not counterfeit (4, Insightful)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 4 months ago | (#47341321)

AND read the article??? Telling someone to STFU is standard fare. Let's not heap unreasonable demands on top. It just adds injury to insult.
The noob remark is just poor form.

Re:Not counterfeit (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#47341959)

Telling someone to STFU is standard fare.

Get one of these cards, and you can do it as many times as you like.

Re:Not counterfeit (0, Offtopic)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 4 months ago | (#47341351)

Dear mods, please understand that suppressing comments to -1 really messes up a threads continuity. Some of us come here to relax with some light reading. We don't have all day to constantly tweak our settings. If I wanted to ruin my Slashdot experience, i don't need you guys to do it, I would just use beta. Thanxbye

Re:Not counterfeit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341387)

Eat some fat dick with a side of balls.

Re:Not counterfeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342085)

STFU and read the article n00b.

You must be new here.

Underground railroad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341307)

Best gang name ever.

Real story (5, Funny)

linebackn (131821) | about 4 months ago | (#47341437)

I think the real story here is that someone in Atlanta figured out how to use a computer. :P

Re:Real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341553)

Seriously? Atlanta is one of the major tech hubs of the US.

Re:Real story (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#47341597)

Which is pretty sad, when you combine the parent and grandparent comments....

Re:Real story (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341627)

Was that intended as a dig against Atlanta's significant African-American population? It sure came across that way.

Re:Real story (1, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | about 4 months ago | (#47341643)

No, it was probably a dig against the South in general.

Re:Real story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341929)

Of course they can use computers in Atlanta. Where do you think GNAA was founded?!

Re:Real story (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 4 months ago | (#47342157)

I think the real story here is that someone in Atlanta figured out how to use a computer. :P

Nah, it's MARTA. If the did figure out how to use a computer they'd just use to figure how to make the service suck even more.

The REAL value of the transit system (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341499)

I think Atlanta should try to learn from this situation.

They found the REAL value of the transit system. The price people were willing to purchase the "counterfeit" cards is much closer to what the general public is willing to pay for "legitimate" cards and they will probably have more riders at that price and as a result, more revenue. Adjust your costs to fit this selling price instead of running things the other way around.

They can probably even learn a thing or two about the ring's distribution system.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (5, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47341573)

mass transit is already hugely subsidized...

The "price" of a good in a market is not merely what people want to pay for it. For example, how many people would buy a yacht for 100 dollars? Probably a lot more then buy one now at its current price of about 10 million to 100 million dollars depending on how big it is... but can you charge 100 dollars to sell yachets? No... you won't even break even on the costs.

And that is a major issue in mass transit. Most mass transit systems do NOT break even after collecting all the tickets and passes. Nearly all of them must subsidize their costs with taxes. And some of them even take money from federal and state programs because the systems are not actually affordable even using city taxes without adding money from the federal and state governments.

As such, saying "hey they should just lower prices" is not really rational.

To actually establish your idea here you'd first have to float the whole system on nothing but those passes and ticket revenue. ZERO subsidization. Then you could charge a market price for those tickets.

And if the ticket revenue fell below what it cost to build and maintain the system then it would shut down for lack of funding the same way companies do that can't get enough sales to pay for operations.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341725)

Of course that viewpoint is really nothing more than over-simplified libertarian fantasy. A reasonably implemented subway doesn't just benefit the direct users, it does things like reduce air pollution and increase the utility of the real estate around it. That means that people who don't even use the subway benefit from it and so it is a public good. That's not a dig against libertarians, the smart ones understand public goods. Its only the recent converts who are overzealous in their simplified view of the world who have a problem figuring it out.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47341981)

Ad hominem is not a counter argument.

As to things benefiting direct users, who gets to decide any of that? Maybe you haven't considered how buying me a yacht would have positive impacts on the local economy?

For one thing it would employ yacht builders. For another it would look really nice and improve property values.

Your silly justifications ignore that its all supposition. You have no empirical basis for anything you're saying. And even if your position did have merit, you have no means of quantifying any of it. For example, that yacht you're buying me would improve the local economy. But would it improve the local economy more then it would hurt government funds or cause other problems? Obviously not.

Which is why not only do you have to show that it actually does provide a benefit but that its benefits outweigh its costs. You have no means of doing that which means you're just guessing.

And your guesses and the government's guesses aren't worth anything more then anyone else's guesses. They're not even educated guesses... they're wild assed assumptions.

Now since you started with an ad hominem I can only assume you're going to double down with more pathetic attempts to win an argument by totally ignoring the argument and simply attacking the person making it... well do your worst. Its utterly intellectually reprehensible and there is no way you could more undermine your own credibility then basing your whole argument on what was known to be a logical fallacy thousands of years ago.

And while you're at it... if you attempt ad verecundiam it won't be any better.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342339)

Your silly justifications ignore that its all supposition. You have no empirical basis for anything you're saying.

As opposed to what you're doing? Reasoning that "You don't have any empirical basis for saying what you do therefore I'm right even though I didn't give empirical evidence either," doesn't even work if there wasn't empirical evidence, since at best both sides would just be talking out of their rear. But there are actually a lot of studies and effort to understand efficiency of such systems and how much government money gains or loses on different projects. Those actually interested in the issues can seek that out easy enough, while people who are just looking for stupid arguments will sit here complaining about the other side lacking empirical evidence while not offering any of their own, regardless of which side of the issue they are on.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Intron (870560) | about 4 months ago | (#47341727)

mass transit is already hugely subsidized...

The "price" of a good in a market is not merely what people want to pay for it. For example, how many people would buy a yacht for 100 dollars? Probably a lot more then buy one now at its current price of about 10 million to 100 million dollars depending on how big it is... but can you charge 100 dollars to sell yachets? No... you won't even break even on the costs.

and yet this is exactly the model for phones and printers. Sell below cost and have a captive revenue stream.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (3, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342299)

No it has nothing to do with that.

Phones make money by collecting a subscription fee that pays off the cost of the phone over the term of the contract.

Printers make money by charging extra for ink which pay off the cost of the printer of the life of the printer.

Buses collect no such other fees from customers. Rather, they collect the difference from the general tax funds or by in my opinion robbing national and state road funds.

The sorry state of many of our bridges is a direct result of cities draining road funds that are paid for by car drivers through gas taxes. Exactly why should my gas taxes go to pay for a bus? The city buses don't even pay the gas tax. They pay no taxes. They pay for nothing. Not their gas. Not their buses. Not the bus drivers. Its nearly all subsidies and that money often comes from over stressed general funds that are forced to underfund more critical services because of the misappropriation of funds. Or the money comes from specialized funds that only exist to fund things like roads and bridges... but now suddenly can't afford to do that because the f'ing buses took all the money. Which is why perpetually we are being told that we don't have enough money in the road fund. This is incorrect. We have plenty of money in the road fund... for roads... and bridges. What we don't have enough money for in the road fund is enough to pay for the newest mass transit project that some slimy politician got green lit ON TOP of the roads and bridges.

And what do they decide to underfund when that happens? The roads and bridges. Heaven forbid that the stupid buses actually have to pay for anything.

And don't get me wrong. If cities want to subsidize their mass transit, that is fine. Really. Do whatever you want. But fucking pay for it yourselves rather then stealing from national highway funds or state highway funds or county road funds.

If its so fucking efficient then why do they keep needing to take other people's money to make it practical? That's something of a logical inconsistency.

The car drivers are expected to foot the bill while the money they did spend doesn't even go to pay for their services. And when that happens, the same politicians lie to the car drivers and say "oh we just don't have enough money to pay for the roads... you should pay more."... really? Should we pay more? Because since you're already stealing a large portion of the fund for one thing that has nothing to do with driving a car... tell me what else we should be paying with our gas taxes. Possibly education? You think I'm kidding but they've already done that. In California where I live they take a portion of the gas tax and put it towards all sorts of feel good education projects. Which is great... I have nothing against after school programs etc. But don't take it from the fucking gas fund. Bill that to the general fund so the state senate can have a hope in hell of making a sensible budget.

And this is a problem we have with a lot of projects. The accounting is so confused, conflicted, and outright corrupt in many places that its not possible to make a sensible budget. Exactly what would you base it on? The numbers people are telling you about anything are not accurate. The revenue numbers are wrong. The cost numbers are wrong. All the projection costs are wrong.

Look... Doubtless I'm sounding like a raving maniac here... fair point. But ladies and gentleman, I'm not wrong... and this sort of thing if we don't get a handle on it will trend us right into being a Banana Republic... and the weather in most of the US is not pleasant enough to make the US competitive as a banana republic. If the US becomes a banana republic, I'm moving to some place where you can actually grow bananas. At least then I've got the bananas.

In all seriousness... its not sustainable. And things that can't go on forever... don't.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (4, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47342575)

Keep this in mind before going off on a public transit rant and why should your taxes pay for it when you drive. The more people on that public transit then the less people on the road with you in private vehicles and the less crowded your drive. So your paying public transport taxes to have better access to your roads.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (2)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 months ago | (#47342837)

I don't think the parent is arguing that taxes shouldn't pay for buses, but rather that the taxes that pay for it shouldn't be the targeted taxes like the gas tax, instead the money to subsidize the buses should come from the general fund, and the subsidy level should be something that people get to have a say in through the election process.

That's something I can get behind, for the simple reason that using the gas tax to subsidize buses is unsustainable: if it's working correctly it encourages drivers to switch to buses, carpool, and use more efficient vehicles (which is, in fact, one of the desired goals - get cars off the streets to reduce traffic and smog), but that means that the burden is now spread over fewer car-miles, so the tax needs to increase, driving more drivers to buses, until everyone is on the buses and where does the money come from again?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

koreanbabykilla (305807) | about 4 months ago | (#47341745)

where i live the bus is always at around 10% capacity. The people on it are low income people with free passes. They charge me more to get to work than it costs in gas. I do only get 15 mpg, but own the car outright. Charge me 1 dollar there and back and i can put up with the order of magnitude time cost increase. I bet busses would be full and not just a crazy tax sinkhole then....

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341781)

That crazy tax sinkhole is probably taking the folk who serve you coffee and groceries to work. The crazy tax sinkhole subsidizes the rest of your economic activity.

Personally I've never seen a city bus service in Europe or in the United States that isn't competitive against someone traveling alone by car unless you have a cheap, reliable and efficient car (and those three tend not to come together very often).

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47341941)

I'd agree with your point but why do it?

Your argument is that the status quo is only possible because of that subsidization. Consider that the status quo might not be a good thing.

We are always told how efficient cities are as compared to other forms of living but the cities are the only places that actually seem to need high levels of subsidization. If they were so efficient they wouldn't.

Cut the subsidy money off and a lot of people that live in cities won't be able to live there anymore.

They'll have to move to cheaper areas.

And then suddenly all the businesses that depend on the cheaper labor those people provide will either have to raise prices to attract sustainable labor or shut down.

This will cause a feed back loop that will push a lot of extra people out of the city until it reaches equilibrium.

At that level of density, it is unlikely the cities will need the mass transit systems being pushed at this point. People will be able to drive cars again in cities if they so choose. And prices for property and rent which are an ongoing issue in cities should be much more reasonable because demand will be a great deal lower.

You're right that the status quo needs the subsidies... but why should we protect the status quo?

Aspects of what "is" at any given point are going to be bad. You'll have to justify those subsidies on some other grounds besides "we can't do business as usual without them." Addiction to subsidies is not an argument for maintaining them indefinitely.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 months ago | (#47342197)

We are always told how efficient cities are as compared to other forms of living but the cities are the only places that actually seem to need high levels of subsidization. If they were so efficient they wouldn't.

Haha, you haven't looked at agricultural subsidies lately (or ever), have you?

Mass transit is certainly massively subsidized (often by the same drivers that urbanistas despise so much), but to say that cities are the only places that need subsidization is ridiculous.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342891)

While the agro subsidies are a point in your favor, I would point out that the cities profit from that by having cheaper food while no one but the cities profits from the mass transit.

Effectively, the cities should recoop the costs. After all the subsidies on agriculture depress prices by increasing supply which means the consumer pays less.

Explain how subsidizing mass transit helps anyone outside the cities?... it doesn't. It should be funded entirely by the cities without tapping into county, state, or federal funding.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342213)

We are always told how efficient cities are as compared to other forms of living but the cities are the only places that actually seem to need high levels of subsidization.

Typically the reverse is true. Rural areas need more subsidy per capita than cities.

Cut the subsidy money off and a lot of people that live in cities won't be able to live there anymore.
They'll have to move to cheaper areas.

Clearly you haven't considered all the poverty in cities in countries where there is little public subsidy of anything. You never heard of favelas and shanty towns? These are often people that had to move to the city because despite the poor conditions and poor pay there, in the countryside where they came from they would starve.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342357)

Much has been made of that recently though I question the accuracy of the accounting. I've had too much experience with the convenient accounting of government to trust anything they're saying without auditing it.

We should both be well versed at this point with government officials double or triple counting revenue... citing costs/debt as being assets... throwing out cost and revenue projections that are utterly indefensible and never come close to projections.

I mean really... I'd have to be a moron to take that at face value. And you should know better yourself.

No offense, we'd have to audit that claim to see if it isn't entirely a fiction.

Given the higher cost of living in cities, the fact that everything is more expensive there... and I mean free market things not government services... it is very hard to argue that they are more efficient empirically. If they were, those costs should be lower.

If it were cheaper to deliver me goods in the city then it is in a rural area then why do I pay more in the city? Competition should drive the cost down if they're just profit taking. And the reality as we both know is that they are just passing on the HIGHER cost of delivering those goods to me in the city.

Why would you assume those costs would only apply to the private sector. It doesn't stop there. All the government services have a higher cost in the city.

Take something as basic as law and order. What do you think NYC pays per resident to provide police protection versus either the suburbs or rural areas. They're not comparable. The rural areas cost practically nothing to police. You could have 5 police officers for 10,000 residents in the boonies. If NYC had that ratio then they'd have about 5000 police officers in the whole city.

Yet they have a lot more... it closer to 40,000. Which to put things into perspective would be like that same town of 10,000 people having a police force of 40 police officers instead of 5.

So I'm going to call creative accounting on your whole premise. It doesn't pass the smell test. Please actually think about it rather then just automatically accepting anything a politician tells you to believe... it makes it very hard to respect your opinion when you do that.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 months ago | (#47342465)

The part you left out is the loss of infrastructure because the tax base is gone. Soon the city dies. An infrastructure designed for a high density isn't sustainable at a low density.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342041)

> 10% capacity...charge me more

It's like that pretty much everywhere. Last night, I was the only person on a double-length bus here in Seattle. Also, you're correct that it cost more in gas to ride on a smelly bus with a lecherous driver than it would have to ride my scooter. Also, it takes me an average of 115 minutes (depending on how the two transfers work-out) to travel twelve miles. On weekend days because the Republicans that rule here hate minorities, it takes me well over two hours each way to get to work. They have destroyed the bus system here so effectively that there are only two buses that go to the airport, and my third job is near the airport. They won't allow minorities to travel with their bus cuts. As a guess, I think I spent over 1,100 hours in the past year on a bus. The Republicans have very effectively created a situation where anyone that rides a bus is not allowed to improve themselves. The rich white Republicans can be at home reading a book or using the Internet to learn. They also have more time to work. Instead, the DINOs that rule Seattle fuck over minorities constant. They want us to die. They don't want to see us so they put tinted film on the buses. It's embarrassing enough to ride the bus without the Republicans here trying to fucking hide us.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47341767)

mass transit is already hugely subsidized...

As is automobile travel and air travel and train travel.

I don't know how much a bicycle is subsidized, but it probably is to a certain extent.

I would be that a lot more money comes out of the public coffers to subsidized automobile travel than mass transit.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 months ago | (#47341841)

In most of the world the cars and the fuel is taxed enough to not only cover their own costs (roads etc.) but also feed into other parts of the big government sinkhole.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341927)

but also feed into other parts of the big government sinkhole.

Wake up sheeple!!!

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47342199)

In most of the world the cars and the fuel is taxed enough to not only cover their own costs (roads etc.) but also feed into other parts of the big government sinkhole.

Not even close. Does fuel tax cover the costs of the health problems from pollution? They haven't even touched the costs to society from the decades where gasoline had lead in it and the crime and social problems that caused.

At best, fuel taxes cover the costs of resurfacing a few roads. It doesn't touch new construction of infrastructure.

On the other hand, if you take my town as an example, the mass transit system has allowed many corporations to bring their facilities here because we have an educated workforce who can get to work without having to drive. Not in every location, but in major cities, the subsidies of mass transit pays for themselves many times over.

"Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342217)

Why're you running from answering 2 simple questions, troll? http://linux.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Tell us how you're an English professor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342231)

That's internationally published after you've been shown to write like a retarded imbecile http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342223)

In most of the world the cars and the fuel is taxed enough to not only cover their own costs (roads etc.) but also feed into other parts of the big government sinkhole.

Not even slightly true. Countries with paved roads are massively subsidising them.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342029)

Wrong.

Cars actually generate revenue. They're taxed very heavily and generate more revenue from those taxes then is spent on cars. A large portion of the gas tax for example is diverted for buses, bicycle roads, etc.

That only goes one way... car drivers do not benefit from taxes on bicycles or buses because neither of those things generate any net tax revenue.

As to airplanes, they are best subsidized at the rate they are taxed. They have no net drain on the national, state, or city budget. In fact, in many places there is a net profit.

To the contrary of your whole point, it is the "mass transit" programs that are prepetually in the red. The cars and airplanes tend to be well into the black.

here you'll bring up something about the US government bailing out an airline... you could say the same thing about any corporation that has more pull in washington then it deserves. Companies go out of business all the time. The government typically does nothing about it.

But if the corporation has friends in washington they can get a bail out. So you're pointing out that some airlines have such connections? Again... so what... you could say the same thing about any major corporation. Your argument ultimately is more that the US government is somewhat corrupt rather then that airlines are subsidized.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47342175)

Cars actually generate revenue. They're taxed very heavily and generate more revenue from those taxes then is spent on cars. A large portion of the gas tax for example is diverted for buses, bicycle roads, etc.

The revenue generated by cars does not make a dent in the external costs of automobile travel.

Everywhere in the US, in every county of every state, automobile travel is subsidized by governments from the town all the way up to the federal gov't.

"Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342235)

Why're you running from answering 2 simple questions, troll? http://linux.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Tell us how you're an English professor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342245)

That's internationally published after you've been shown to write like a retarded imbecile http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342993)

In what way? And what are you suggesting here? That we don't have roads? You want to have little tiny rail road tracks all over the cities down into every cul-de-sac? There is no city on the planet that can survive without its roads... it doesn't matter how much mass transit you've got. You still need roads. So its a zero sum game.

If you're going to build the roads anyway because you can't practically sustain a society without them... why is it so evil to just use them as the primary mode of transportation?

Yes yes... moronically over developed cities where they pack people in like distopian rats are not functional without mass transit... I fail to see how that is an argument in favor of mass transit but rather an argument against packing people in so densely that you're forced to use expensive, limiting, and impersonal transportation methods.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342259)

Cars actually generate revenue. They're taxed very heavily and generate more revenue from those taxes then is spent on cars.

A common misconception.

http://usa.streetsblog.org/201... [streetsblog.org]

It's the same the world over. Where roads are paved and maintained, they are heavily subsidized. Rail transport is cheap compared with the subsidies given to private road transport.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342321)

I'd love to see the accounting on that. As it points out, the gas taxes used to pay for it no problem.

What exactly changed? You say we didn't raise our gas taxes but do we pay a proportionally lower tax today or are you saying the cost of maintaining the network has gone up?

And if it has gone up why? Is that due to proportionally more roads today then drivers? While being stuck in traffic it is very hard to argue that the ratio of roads to drivers is more today then it was in the past when the traffic was lighter.

So what else could cause the cost curve to change?

Is concrete and asphalt more expensive?

I have many guesses as to what could be going on here but none of them are going to be particularly flattering to your "we should just give the government more money" thesis.

And its irrelevant anyway... the accounting information either of us would need to make our point is not open to the public. Which means its just my assumptions against yours.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342449)

I'd love to see the accounting on that. As it points out, the gas taxes used to pay for it no problem.

No they did not. They never have. If you only want to be creative and say "cars and motorcycles and bicycles (because the last are basically free anyway and pay for all their road damage from their sales tax)", then yes, maybe those would cover costs and we'll all be happy. But then you have all the trucks, SUVs, semis and cement trucks and you have a system that does not pay for itself.

Road damage is the fifth power of axle weight. A semi with 10 tons per axle vs. a car with 0.5 ton does 20^5 more damage. And they certainly don't pay 3 million times more in any taxes.

So next time people bitch about bicycles, remember you are bitching about the wrong people. Bicycles *pay for all their road damage* just with sales tax. Trucks, SUVs and semis, hell no. Even fuel taxes and the rest - we all subsidize their damage.

And since you like numbers, 1t car + 2 people car (so about 300kg per wheel) vs. bike 80kg (person+bike) (so 40kg per wheel) you have 7^5 damage difference. That's 17000+x road damage difference. $10 in sales tax on a cheapest bike covers more damage than $170,000+ in all taxes a driver would need to pay (to pay *equivalent* share of road damage!). And I'm comparing light car that does not even cause all these potholes.

Yes, if we all rode light cars and bikes and motorcycles, we would not get many potholes and would not require much maintenance. And all the gas taxes would definitely cover all the road damage.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47342313)

And the roads are not paid from gas taxes, but use income tax for most of the construction cost.

"Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342167)

Why're you running from answering 2 simple questions, troll? http://linux.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

PopeRatzo - are you an English professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342177)

Or were you? You write like a retarded imbecile yet claim to be some famous writer -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org] and it's obvious you used the old trick "professors" use and self-published yourself, IF that was even the truth. Answer the question, asshole.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (2)

Bitbeard (1665499) | about 4 months ago | (#47341773)

Hear, hear on the subsidization. In my county, for every dollar spent by a rider, the taxpayer pays two dollars. And it would be worse if we had rail. That's an absurd ratio. If you want to get somewhere, shouldn't you have to pay for it? Sure, public transit is good for the environment, less wear and tear on infrastructure, relieves traffic, etc, but paying TWICE what the rider pays?? No.

You'd see more public support for mass transit if the subsidization rate was under 50%.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47341889)

The biggest problem is that often the subsidization is coming from outside the city itself.

In the US, many cities have their mass transit paid for in part by the federal and state governments. That's my main issue with it.

If people in a city decide to subsidize their buses or trains or subways that is fine. But they should pay for it themselves. People that don't live in the cities shouldn't have to pay for the mass transit in the cities.

And I would agree that goes both ways and that people outside the cities shouldn't be asking people in the cities to pay for things either unless whatever it is benefits the cities in some way.

The issue is that cities themselves are not nearly as efficient and economical and many people think because they're very heavily subsidized.

If you suddenly had all the people in the cities paying rent without rent control... paying for food without food stamps... paying for medicine without free medical care... etc a lot of people couldn't live in the city. And if they couldn't they shouldn't.

And if those people didn't live in the city then a lot of things in the city that depend on access to cheap labor etc wouldn't be viable... it would cause a chain reaction that would cause most cities to shrink in size radically.

And would that be a bad thing? Because the people that don't live in the city now would be living somewhere that they could afford.

Why are we trying to get people to live in cities in a manner that forces those people to live at the mercy of charity?

Who benefits? Not the people being offered the subsidies. They're effectively chained to government policies because they utterly depend upon them.

Not the middle class because they tend to prefer the suburbs as proven by the fact that they move there.

We can either assume its for the rich or no one at all and this is just incompetence.

Pick one. Either way the cities shouldn't be so heavily subsidized. It distorts everything.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (4, Interesting)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 4 months ago | (#47342049)

"shouldn't you have to pay for it?"

Should the mobility of labor be comparable to the mobility of capital for a rational market to form?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342485)

Should the mobility of labor be comparable to the mobility of capital for a rational market to form?

You are making an assumption the market is rational. You are also making an assumption that available means of transportation are also rational. There are plenty of political favors in mass transit:
http://www.charlotteobserver.c... [charlotteobserver.com]

Better alternatives exist in Charlotte but are severely underfunded. However, if rational markets existed, yes, I'd agree with you.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47342555)

Silly you, that idea would require reading... maybe Adam Smith (who says the same thing) or the studies from Norway that demonstrated the advantage their mobility provided in the late 00's.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342267)

Road transport is heavily subsidized. Are you willing to pay taxes that double your costs for driving your car?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47342361)

In my county, for every dollar spent by a rider, the taxpayer pays two dollars.

Just read an article about a new bus route being added near where my parents live.

It is intended, of course, to allow for commutes into metropolitan area nearby...

So, the article broke down the costs of the system into Federal, State, Local, individual costs. The individual riders of the system were expected to pay ~17% of the cost of the system. The remaining ~83% was covered by taxpayers at various levels.

Even with that level of subsidization, they were expecting an average of only 30 people per day to be using the system....

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47342633)

The problem with funding mass transit is that it must be designed for peak flows ie have sufficient capacity to fulfil demand during morning and afternoon rush hour. Outside of rush hour this capacity whilst still available is largely idle and thus losses money even though during peak transit times it generates a profit. So either adjust work start and finish to distribute demand and make public transit more profitable or just learn to suck it up when in a traffic jam as that will be the norm without public transit freeing up roads during peak hour, each passenger is one less car on the road and that is what you are paying for.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 months ago | (#47342867)

I'm not 100% convinced it's the cars that are the problem. Sure, there is extra congestion from more cars and there is obviously a limit as to how many road of given width can support, but there are other users of the roads that I think may be the seeds of traffic: Bulk transport vehicles.

Without their slow acceleration and poor hill performance, the car traffic would be able to move at a fairly constant rate. Instead, whenever one of these vehicles attempts to merge in or climb a hill, its lane becomes obstructed. Drivers naturally attempt to route around the obstruction, spreading velocity differences into the neighboring lanes. Also, the flimsy rag they cover the spoil with is insufficient to prevent a comet tail of paint-scratching debris.

Bulk transport vehicles should not be in high-traffic areas during peak commute times.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341873)

Consider also that the alternatives to mass transit are privately operated vehicles operating on public infrastructure. Aside from toll roads, the roads network is overwhelmingly usable at no additional cost, without any fare-collection mechanism in place. The system is maintained via taxation, including fuel taxes and vehicle licensing fees.

You cannot analyze the economics of a good without also examining its substitutes.

If mass transit is expensive, in time and in dollars, people will use it less. They may substitute alternative transportation methods, or simply decline to travel at all. This is why many no-additional-cost transit options are often found in heavily commercial areas. Merchants can make more money if shoppers decide to take a free shuttle to their business premises instead of walking back to their car to go home. Or you could consider the terminal trains and moving walkways at airports. The airport provides them at no additional cost to increase the throughput of ticket-buying travelers and reduce pedestrian congestion. Installing a fare collection mechanism, even for $0.01 per trip, would chop an enormous chunk out of the convenience, and undermine the purpose of the infrastructure.

The obvious purpose of per-ride fares is to prioritize useful, commerce-generating trips over what would essentially be purposeless wandering or cruising. I suggest that even if fares are reduced to zero, the time cost of using public transit will be enough to stop people from endlessly consuming transit resources with no purpose.

The use of the word "subsidy" is polarizing. Are public roads subsidized by fuel taxes, or is that just how we pay for them?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342071)

roads are subsidized by car drivers through gas taxes...

Put a tax on buses that pays for buses and I have no problem with them.

I await your next argument... but kindly don't compare the two unless they're actually comparable.

They're apples and oranges and you know it.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341989)

The "price" of a good in a market is not merely what people want to pay for it. For example, how many people would buy a yacht for 100 dollars?

They'd be idiots.
Buying a yacht is only the starting point.
Dock fees, dry dock fees, storage fees, fuel, maintenance, repairs, taxes.
The rule of thumb is to budget 5%~10% of the purchase price for your yearly expenses.
So for a 10 million dollar yacht, you can expect at least $500,000 in yearly expense.
Just filling up the gas tanks would cost more than some cars.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342135)

Which is why the government should also subsidize all those costs for me. Think about how much it would help the economy and improve property values.

In all seriousness, this is the problem with making claims about various public services and projects benefiting the public at large.

You see this all the time with Stadium construction. Every time the sports teams say "hey, you'll improve the local economy, provide lots of jobs, etc etc... just buy us a stadium"...

Do those things happen? Statistically no. Yeah you get some jobs... yeah you get some more traffic in town... but not enough to pay for what the stadium cost. If that sort of thing worked then Cleveland or Detroit could turn themselves into economic power houses by building public works.

You can't. It doesn't work that way. And neither does it work that way with the mass transit.

The whole argument... no offense... is a product of intellectual laziness, ignorance, and the corruption of a few bad people that are wiling to take advantage of it.

Nothing more.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 4 months ago | (#47342037)

You have assumed that any amount of subsidization removes any amount of information from prices but have failed to demonstrate this. If this were true then the system would be no worse off charging no fares whatsoever if the system accepts any subsidy, which is clearly absurd.

Even if your only goal is to maximize fare box recovery, rejecting any social objectives, it is possible for the optimum fare to be less or more than the current fare. Transit costs include fixed capital costs for infrastructure and equipment, operating costs per vehicle run for labor and energy, and variable operating costs per rider. The overall costs vary slowly per marginal rider, so if the demand is elastic with price is it conceivable that by reducing price you can decrease the marginal subsidy by way in increasing the load per vehicle.

re: subsizied mass transit (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 4 months ago | (#47342149)

Yes, you're correct .... but I'd maintain that in most (all?) cases, at least in the USA, they've been doing it wrong.

For example, do you know what the salary is for a DC metro subway driver? I had no clue until I saw a job posting on one of the govt. job boards. It's in the 6 figures. I'd sure like to know why a $100,000/yr. plus salary is necessary to get someone to operate a metrorail train!

When you look at what each individual spends to use a personal motor vehicle to commute to/from work each day, it simply doesn't make logical sense that a mass transit system can't beat those operating costs per-person, by sheer volume. And yet, it generally costs me almost the same price to drive from point A to B as to take the metro between those same places. And STILL they say it needs subsidizing with large tax collections?

No ... reality is, mass transit is a big cash cow for a lot of folks on the inside. Every time the system is expanded, contractors are making big bucks on the project.... Unionized maintenance staff probably costs more than is really necessary to keep it all running too. Who knows where else money is being spent inefficiently on the whole thing -- but there sure are plenty of opportunities for it.

Re: subsizied mass transit (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342277)

For example, do you know what the salary is for a DC metro subway driver? I had no clue until I saw a job posting on one of the govt. job boards. It's in the 6 figures. I'd sure like to know why a $100,000/yr. plus salary is necessary to get someone to operate a metrorail train!

False. Their salary is not in 6 figures. The only way they are going to get into six figures is to do a lot of overtime.

http://greatergreaterwashingto... [greatergre...ington.org]

Re: subsizied mass transit (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47342987)

In regards to "it would only work if people did it right"... they say that about everything.

Seriously... how many things would work if people just did them right.

Communism? Everything owned by the state or some benevolent cooperative where everyone shares and shares alike like the animals in the Lion King... Circle of life and kumbayah?

Radical libertarianism? Everything held in private hands but arbitrated via enlightened self interest through competitive and open contract law allowing everyone to get what they need in a classless meritocracy?

In practice neither of these systems work because a certain percentage of the human population is composed of assholes. So you have to build the system to take the assholes into consideration or they'll just shit all over everything.

Ignore the assholes and all the sticky complex variables and nearly any "theoretical" system works.

In theory lots of things work. In practice you have to deal with "reality"... and in reality the theory has to take into consideration a much more complex and intractable set of givens that render many theoretically viable systems utterly unsustainable.

But for the sake of argument, lets say it was done correctly... it won't be... but lets say it would.

I would argue that while sure yes a train might be more efficient at going from known point A to known point B... but that is not actually what people need.

We don't all live or work at known point A or B. We live and work NEAR those places but not at them. Which means even if done correctly, the commuters bear an unrecorded burden to handle a portion of the commute on their own often by walking or biking or switching to multiple mass transit systems... to get from UNKNOWN point X to UNKNOWN point Y. So sure, you can go from point A to B. But that isn't what people are doing. Most people do not work or live in the bus/subway station.

The car takes you from a completely dynamic unknown point X to Y. What is more, the mass transit systems do not operate on YOUR schedule but rather theirs. Which means if you need to get across town at 2AM you might just be shit out of luck. I don't have this problem with my car. I had an IT emergency that i had to run off to at a company at 2AM on the other side of town.

Can we agree that mass transit would not serve my needs in that situation?

I can go anywhere I want whenever I want... directly. No detours. No stop offs to pick up people. I go where I want when I want.

Put a price on that.

Or more importantly put a price on not being able to do that. Because you pay that price when you use mass transit. You surrender a lot of your freedom to choose when and how you get places.

Don't get me wrong, mass transit is very handy in crowded cities. However, I would argue its really only useful in those cities and BECAUSE what you're ultimately dealing with is inefficiencies introduced by packing people in with such density that you've made it impractical for people to own and operate personal transport.

And obviously lets make sure to add the issue of storage/carrying capacity. For example, I recently visited some family about 50 miles from where I live. Could I have gotten there by mass transport? Absolutely. I could take a bus to the train station, then take the train, then switch to another bus, then walk a couple miles. It would have only taken about 4 to 5 times longer. Small price to pay for the warm glow of being a good soylent green cultist.

And not only that but I wouldn't have been able to bring the beer, the appetizers, and the cake that I brought to that party.

And that's not something unique to the few family get togethers I have throughout the year. I am constantly bringing things to places. To work, to home, to friend's places... things that do not easily carry under your arm.

Hell, the weekly grocery shopping trip would be utterly obnoxious if I had to use a subway or bus. I pack my car with loads of stuff. I think I bought 10 2 liter bottles of diet coke the last time I went to the store. I like to buy a bunch of it and then not worry about it for months on end.

So you have to appreciate that there is a "qualitative" difference here beyond the ultra utilitarian argument you're making.

I am not a cow... do not treat me like cattle... packing me into some shipping container and expecting me to get where I need to go by routing me through various hubs.

I appreciate that people in cities have been making this sacrifice for generations. I think they don't know what they gave up anymore. I live in Los Angeles. A big city known to be a car town. Also known for its often annoying traffic jams. But I'd take those traffic jams any day over being forced to use the fucking subway or bus.

Mass transit is garbage. Its only reasonable in cities that are frankly too dense for their own good rendering any other system impractical. And anywhere else its fine for a backup means of getting around but should not be the primary means for people to get around anywhere but cities that have painted themselves into a logistical corner like fucking asshats.

Here you might say "oh but poor people can't afford cars"... they do in rural areas just fine. Travel out there and you'll see beat up pickup trucks for hundreds of miles. Los Angeles is full of Toyota Corrolas driven often by illegal immigrants that bought the car and maintain it on BELOW minimum wage. Do they pay the taxes on it? Probably not... I really wouldn't know... but they keep gas in the thing and those cars are pretty much indestructible. How would you honestly rather commute to work... in your own personal pick up truck... old and beat up though it might be... or in a piss soaked bus/subway sitting shoulder to shoulder with some drug addict shivering from withdrawal? Lets please dispense with how it might be in your idealized vision and simply accept what it is...

That is reality. And I see very little to recommend it.

Am I being unfair? That's been my experience on mass transit in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Its all anecdotal but that's just another way of saying my data set isn't large enough to draw any conclusions... says nothing about whether my data is invalid in and of itself.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47342179)

And that is a major issue in mass transit. Most mass transit systems do NOT break even after collecting all the tickets and passes. Nearly all of them must subsidize their costs with taxes. And some of them even take money from federal and state programs because the systems are not actually affordable even using city taxes without adding money from the federal and state governments.

Countries with good public transport are pleasanter for everone than countries without them.

As such, saying "hey they should just lower prices" is not really rational.

A train or a bus costs about the same per passenger mile whether it is full or empty. The additional fuel for weight is a tiny part of the cost. Thus if the transport service is not running near capacity, it very often DOES make sense to lower ticket prices and get more passengers. Note the success of low-cost airlines vs the traditional airlines.

And if the ticket revenue fell below what it cost to build and maintain the system then it would shut down for lack of funding the same way companies do that can't get enough sales to pay for operations.

A very short sighted viewpoint. First of all most of those people that were on public transport will be forced into private vehicles causing massive congestion. Secondly those who are unable to drive, such as old people, disabled and children become disenfranchised. And that's not good for society either.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47342285)

Nearly all of them must subsidize their costs with taxes.

And cars are subsidized. You need to even out the subsidizations, and nobody is pushing for making road vehicles pay their actual share.

ZERO subsidization. Then you could charge a market price for those tickets.

Start with killing subsidies for cars. Oh, that's right, you are like the farmers. They vote conservative because they are against welfare, while collecting government money.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342435)

So you acknowledge that mass transit systems run at a loss and are heavily subsidized by tax payers, but you disagree with the ticket price being cheap enough that people actually use it?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47342537)

mass transit is already hugely subsidized...

Not in Atlanta. There are a lot of politicans scared by "OMG black people in suburbs around white women" who have worked damn hard to prevent subsidization. They even passed laws requiring wasting the federal subsidies (the feds pushed back on that somewhat... now only 1/2 of the dollars are wasted).

Recently, votes supporting subsidization of the transit system were lost.

Further, the control is kinda crazy, there are many competing transit options on a county by county basis (keeping in mind that the Atlanta area has like a dozen counties) that interoperate poorly to prevent the mixing of economic strata, and the state control that keeps things from being done well...

. Most mass transit systems do NOT break even after collecting all the tickets and passes... As such, saying "hey they should just lower prices" is not really rational.

It's perfectly rational to subsizide things you want more of. And it's hard to think of a reason to not want more mass transit. Lower traffic, lower pollution, lower road maintance costs, lower accidental deaths, lower DUIs (while maximizing drinking opportunities), lower parking issues (and the corrallary tighter population densities/resturant densities), more freedom for poor people. In fact, it's hard for me to think of a reason it shouldn't be 100% free.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342689)

I have issues with population density being considered a good thing, but that aside...

Free would be nice, but I feel it would be more practical to have it subsidized for the poor. In other words, free bus passes to the poor, or perhaps working poor. At the very least, free bus passes to those below the poverty level, but only if their income is at least $500 per month.

I know that seems counterintuitive, but I said "at the very least", and this would be to provide assistance to those who may need the bus in the course of their work, or to get around without burdening their little income being used for getting a car, tax, etc.

Some places have bus passes as cheap as $250/year. Some places cost $70/month. Lowing the prices would certainly help, but it wouldn't be feasible. So it seems like the only solution is to subsidize bus passes for the poor--make them free for the working poor.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 4 months ago | (#47342679)

And that is a major issue in mass transit. Most mass transit systems do NOT break even after collecting all the tickets and passes. Nearly all of them must subsidize their costs with taxes. And some of them even take money from federal and state programs because the systems are not actually affordable even using city taxes without adding money from the federal and state governments.

We generally don't expect roads to pay for themselves, so why should we expect that of mass transit?

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | about 4 months ago | (#47342885)

But are not roads and highways also subsidized with taxes. In fact there is talk now of increasing the tax on gasoline since it is not enough to keep the highway trust fund solvent. I don't know about current subsidies, but when the first railroads were built they were subsidized with large land grants to the companies building them. The notion that "the market" is always right and should decide whether anything is done and what the price for it should be is only true for those areas in which it is applicable. There are many things that can not support a market, that are still desirable for society as a whole. In order for things like roads and highways to exist there must be some form of subsidies. Whether they are direct or in the form of "membership cooperatives" (e.g. Electric Membership Corporations) they would never exist if left to private enterprise alone.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47341589)

So if they lowered their prices to match that of the counterfeit cards, would that then mean people would no longer chose to pay even less if a new counterfeit ring popped up? Or would you argue they lower their prices again because someone else starts selling counterfeit cards even cheaper? If the cards are easy enough to reprogram, and a criminal is desperate enough to not factor risks into their costs, they can go cheaper and cheaper, virtually to the point of the $1 cost for them to get the cards. Just because people are always willing to pay less for something doesn't mean it is necessarily overvalued.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 months ago | (#47341811)

Not only Atlanta but essentially every major city uses those card systems, and almost everywhere the security is broken.

The only thing that stops it from making the news is that it's silenced - the public transport companies don't want the information to get leaked that they use a broken system.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

imsabbel (611519) | about 4 months ago | (#47341931)

Thats one of the most moronic statements I have ever seen.

Aside from the whole "its already subsidized" thing, people bought those cards because they were cheaper, not because they were at some magical "correct" price point.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47342145)

How does that make any sense? I am selling a counterfeit item, of course I am selling it at below retail as there is risk involved for the client, and they must pay with cash as well. That does not mean that the retail price is too high, anymore than someone picking a twenty dollar bill up off the floor has twenty dollars too little in their bank account.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342455)

Goof try! Somehow buyers invariably claim that reducing prices will increase sellers profits.

Re:The REAL value of the transit system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342863)

That would work for movie tickets

The REAL value of the transit system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342991)

I think Atlanta should try to learn from this situation.

The goal of MARTA is not to facilitate ridership. Its goal is to meet the minimum requirements for federal subsidies while maintaining Atlanta's existing racial segregation lines.

Low-hanging fruit (2)

Sneftel (15416) | about 4 months ago | (#47341645)

The indictment claims that the ring called their organization the "Underground Railroad."

Srsly, guys, try harder.

Re:Low-hanging fruit (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 months ago | (#47341879)

Why seems like a perfectly reasonable name to me, given what the group does and where they operate.

I am not an expert by any means but my understanding of the last organization to use that name is they rarely if ever put someone on a train or other railway conveyance at all let alone one that went underground. If anything they should have called themselves "The Discrete Walk North". Which I admit does not have the same ring to it, but is at least better in terms of descriptiveness. I guess it just shows you how this country really always been about marketing.

Re:Low-hanging fruit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47343013)

I am not an expert by any means but my understanding of the last organization to use that name is they rarely if ever put someone on a train or other railway conveyance at all let alone one that went underground. If anything they should have called themselves "The Discrete Walk North".

I guess it was a discrete walk, if you really want to think about it that way. However, I believe it is most often associated with being discreet, i.e. discretion.

Re:Low-hanging fruit (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 4 months ago | (#47341939)

The main transit station is right at Underground Atlanta (underground strip mall), a seedy hub of recently released ex-cons and an open-air drug market.

Government IT at "work" AGAIN! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342113)

I suppose the same company that manages the IRS email backups manages the "smart" cards for the Atlanta metro.

Government does NOTHING well!

Winnipeg Transit's new transfer tickets... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342697)

They are a simple QR code with route, date and time information embedded. Print your own on a thermal printer and enjoy free rides.

I wish this was possible in Melbourne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47342865)

I'd fuck those Myki assholes over in a goddamn heartbeat if I could, the whole thing is a fiasco.

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