Light Rail Vending Machines…aarrrggghhh!

Portland MAX ticket machine meltdown

Portland MAX ticket machine meltdown

I approached a MAX ticket machine the other day here in Portland, Oregon and I see that it is shut down –  with a lovely DOS display showing a “Disk Boot Failure” error message.

There's gotta be a better way...

There's gotta be a better way...

Imagine being able to pay on-site, or even in advance, with a wireless device such as an iphone or Blackberry? This could be a reality if the Portland TriMet adopts a paperless ticket approach similar to that being used by fare inspectors in Brussels.

Using this approach a ticket is purchased on, and able to be scanned from, a wireless device. Some airlines are also considering this approach.
Wireless could also enter the picture as a technology known as Near Field Communications (NFC) expands here in the United States. NFC allows for using a wireless device to communicate with enabled vending machines to dispense product and charge to a pre-authorized account (or add to your phone bill in some instances). It is already quite common to see folks in parts of Asia and Europe holding their cell phones up to a vending machine and have it dispense a light rail ticket or an afternoon snack.

You can read more about the implementation in Germany here.

Using NFC on light rail in Germany...sehr gute Idee!

Using NFC on light rail in Germany...sehr gute Idee!

I’m curious about your thoughts on the subject. Please take the quick poll below to express your opinion. Also, if you live in a country or region where this technology is already being used, please leave a comment – I’d love to hear about it.

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One Response to Light Rail Vending Machines…aarrrggghhh!

  1. Jeff says:

    Hi Louis,
    Great post! Those interested in this technology can learn more from the Smart Card Alliance website:
    http://www.smartcardalliance.org/

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