Friday, October 24, 2008

The Man Who Always Returned

To tell the same story about the streets of Oslo:
Trond Bjørgan, chief executive of the newly renamed transit system KTP (formerly Oslo Sporveier), is currently involved in public hearings at City Hall that are probing the ticketing system scandal. It has cost the taxpayers an estimated NOK 620 million over 24 years, and still isn't ready for widespread public operation.

....There have been some signs that the ticketing gates and equipment installed several years ago around Oslo's T-bane system on board trams and buses might start working soon. A partial introduction was made Monday, but officials aren't promising full operation before "sometime" in 2009. The gates and equipment have caused confusion for travelers, not least for tourists trying to figure out how the ticketing works.

The new system is supposed to allow passengers to use the same electronic tickets for the tram, T-bane, train and bus systems that serve Oslo and the surrounding metropolitan area in Akershus County. Millions have been spent on research and development since 1984.

Bjørgan has been chief of the Oslo portion, formerly Sporveier, for the past 12 years and inherited the project that hadn't succeeded for a dozen years before that. He blamed complicated fare zones as one of the reasons that a common ticketing system has been so delayed. Technical problems with the equipment purchased from Thales of France have also caused innumerable headaches.

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