Saturday, May 19, 2007

Validate Your Existance

St. Louis has a dinky light rail system, Metrolink. It has one very long line, from the airport to downtown, across the Mississippi via beautiful old Eads Bridge and then way, way out into the Illinois suburbs. A couple of years ago, a spur opened from from the Central West End of the City, through Clayton, the seat of St. Louis County, and then a bit south through some areas where hardly anyone goes.

The lines were laid out on the cheap by following old railroad rights-of-way, rather than acquiring land through places where people actually need transit services. I can't complain, though. There is a stop under my office building, from which I can get to the airport for $2.
You must buy a ticket and then validate it with a time stamp. The ticket validation machine in this picture is at the top of the 8th and Pine station downtown, right on the corner where I work.

A very big, very patriotic motorcycle


Anonymous said...

The machine doesn't sell tickets, correct? You buy the ticket in a different machine and then use this one to validate it? What happens if you use the ticket without validation?

Sorry, I'm a bit confused but this is a very different system than we have here. You just buy the ticket (actually, it is a reusable card) and use it without any validation process.

Waldo Oiseau said...

Hey, at least you have a lightrail! :)

Bob Crowe said...

Annulla - I see that you are from Brooklyn. The system is different here. You buy one or more tickets at the station. Before you board the train, you must time and date stamp a ticket in the validator machine. If the security person asks to check your ticket, it must have the proper time stamp. You cannot use a ticket without a validation stamp - then a person could buy one ticket and use it day after day.

This is called a barrierless system. It's the same on the trams in Amsterdam and, if I remember correctly, the subway in Vienna and Berlin. The transit authority says it is cheaper to do it this was rather than to install turnstyles like in NYC.