Why is my Starbucks card more sophisticated than my TTC Metropass?
It’s been a long, cold, snowy week. The week started off great with my sixth anniversary with my partner at La Palette, and turned into a bit of a nightmare with the loss of a metropass, costing just a bit under what two full meals, appetizers, desserts and drinks cost for our anniversary. In a word? I’m disappointed.
So here’s the story. During Snowmageddon 2013, I dropped my TTC Metropass in between the seats in the back of the streetcar. I’ve seen this happen to people with money, papers, and I’ve even dropped a birthday card in between the seats of a subway once, but never have I seen somebody drop their Metropass, the equivalent of dropping $128 down the drain. (Since it was the 8th day of the year and I’d already used it half that day, it’s the equivalent of dropping $98 down the drain. But I digress.) The worst part of losing your Metropass INSIDE A TTC VEHICLE? It’s retrievable and replaceable. If only the TTC cared about that fact.
Immediately after it happened, I being the Millenial I am at the back of an overfull streetcar, turn to @TTCHelps on Twitter and they advised me to tell my streetcar driver. Easier said than done. I got off, ran to the front and the door was closed. The driver didn’t open the door when I knocked on it because it was full. I kept saying “I DONT WANT TO GET ON, I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING” and kept making patronizing faces at me and only when my friend started in on him too did he open up and say snarkily “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” When I explained my dilemma he rolled his eyes and said “What can I do about it? Go find it if you can.” Obviously he didn’t listen to me when I said what happened, I repeated it fell between the seat and his OWN customer service manager advised me to tell him. He kept saying “Well it doesn’t matter, I can’t do anything.” Meanwhile he’s continuing to exchange looks with other passengers right in front of me. Finally he LISTENS the third and realizes it’s UNDER the seats and tells me they might be able to get it out in a few days at the depot. The @TTCHelps Twitter advises me that they absolutely can’t replace the card, only give me the original one if they ever have time to get it out.
Why won’t the TTC just replace this Metropass, especially considering I have a receipt of purchase from last week? Because I’m not a Metropass Discount Plan purchaser. Despite having witnesses, they NEVER replace Metropasses unless you are a yearly subscriber. Instead, I have been advised that if they have time, they will go in the back of the car and find it. Do I believe this? Unfortunately, not for a second. Also? This is almost more work for them than it’s worth. It’d be easier to just replace my card and take my information/my statement to track the incident. But the TTC has a very archaic sense of customer service and this is another example.
I started thinking about other things of value in my hand a lot, like my Starbucks card. I almost always have about $20 on my card, a card I register on their website. If my wallet is stolen or my card is lost, I can go online and in about three seconds I can report the card lost or stolen or transfer the balance to a new card almost immediately. If the TTC ever moved towards this system, I could have easily locked my funds on it and retrieved it easily. There’s all this talk about how archaic our pay system is, and now that I’ve experienced this type of difficulty I’m once again interested in the future of the technology behind our transportation system.
I can’t wait until the TTC moves into the future, maybe in a decade, and we get a pay system that actually considers how the loss of a card can really screw somebody up for a month.
UPDATE: Party time! They found my pass! I’m only out $15 for the transit for the three days I was without. But really guys, let’s talk transit cost soon, ok?