SJ, geniuses… or idiots?

I haven’t been paying much attention to SJ as of late, not because I don’t think traveling by train is bad, but because I simply haven’t traveled anything in the recent past. But I have noticed their new pricing system, which immediately when I heard about it made me think “greed”.

Sure, I can understand that they want all of their seats to be filled when they push on to their destination, but I am not sure how they intended to do this with the new pricing system.

The new system always seemed way too complex for me to bother trying to understand it, but now I have researched it a bit, it doesn’t seem all that complex anymore (I guess those officials trying to clear things up in the newspapers really screwed that one up…

The earlier you buy your ticket, the less it will cost, ok got it. This means that if I needed to go to, say Stockholm, in an emergency, today, I’d be screwed over, since SJ prefers customers to know in advance that they are going… way to go making the world flexible there… good job!

And then, whatever seats are not sold hours? before departure (I could probably find the answer to that, but SJ seem to have invested more money in shiny technologies and less money in people who understands how to handle the shiny technology (i.e. their website is slower than a turtle caught in peanut butter) and I just don’t have the patience to wait more than 120 seconds for a web-page to load) are then auctioned off…

Maybe I’m just whiny, but what was the rationale for bringing in another service/technology to muddle up the water more?

Anyway… what prompted this post was something I read in Henrik Alexandersson’s blog (link is in Swedish). SJ, in an effort to stop black market trade with their cheapest tickets, will want to make the tickets personal, by tacking on name and personal number. His post is about how this is just one short step away from being integrated into EU’s Passenger Name Registration, aimed at mapping/tracking people (in the name of counter-terrorism, of course…) as they travel about.

Well, since hax has already written about the SJ – PNR connection, which is far more interesting and frightening than this, I’ll just continue on ranting about SJs stupidity.

Had SJ been a software company, what they are now doing would be known as “polishing the turd”. Their new system is shit, it is easy to exploit, and now, in an attempt to fix it, instead of simplifying (and respecting their customers privacy) they add a new layer complexity to the equation. This change will not only affect passengers, what about the ticket controllers on the trains? Yeah nice thing there, checking that all tickets match the passenger ID.

If this blog was read by more people than say two or three of my best friends and my mother, then I’m sure that someone would comment on the fact that with this variable pricing scheme a student have the ability to snatch a ticket for a lower price, and that in turn means that said student have the ability to travel and “see the world”. I am not oblivious to that fact, it just doesn’t hold any weight to me, as it is still an idiotic, ill thought-through system, which in the end sacrifices part of you privacy, for a potentially cheaper ticket price.

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