According to the local newspaper, commuters in Trondheim has been unhappy (1 2) with the public monopoly situation and the local bus company for a long time. Team-Trafikk (the buss company) says, not surprisingly that the travelers are happy. Some of the discontent has came from the introduction of an electronic transit pass. This has been going on since 2000 and it has had a problematic inception, costing the travelers several millions NOK (1 2). After seven or eight years of planning and failing, Trondheim has now finally gotten an electronic transit pass.
As a daily commuter and a techno lover I had to try the new card which was released July 1st. I did of course buy it online from tkort.no. The web shop has unfortunately been developed by someone with less computer skills than an eight year old. It is hard to find information about the products and in particular about the prices. I did not have problems but I would say it was difficult to figure out what to get and how much it costs. I have been using computers for more than twenty years and I wonder how it is for old people with limited knoledge of computers and web shops.
When I finally found out what to buy I could not pay using the web shop. Most decent web shops allow you to pay with Visa, Paypal, Mastercard or similar but tkort.no requires you to wire money to their account using your (internet) bank. I did so and the process took 12 days, involving several conversations with customer “support”. They did not provide a lof of help and they almost blamed me for losing the money and wanted me to prove that the money was transferred. They had no or only very limited information about how the system was supposed to work and they had no idea of where my money had taken its way. After 12 days it was ok, and the transit pass was working.
Then two days after the money appeared they called me because they had drawn too much money from my account and wanted me to come to their office so they could correct their bookkeping. They wanted me to fix their problems. I said I was sorry and that I could not help them at that moment and the woman calling me got upset.
After using the pass for some time I must say it works quite well. However, the introduction of the web shop was a disaster and the information given to both the bus drivers and the customer support was not existing. All in all a very good example of hopeless project management. It is not strange they have had several time and cost overruns. Nevertheless, I hope they will sort out the problems as I believe that electronic payment is the future and far supperior to good old cash.