Luas smart card system crashes due to leap year
February 29th 2008
This morning many hundreds of Luas smart card holders were left short changed as a result of a Y2K esq software bug in the Luas smart card ticket system; it could not cope with leap years.
While the system let passengers 'tag-on', when they arrived at their destination stop the system refused to allow them to 'tag-off' their smart card claiming the date was wrong. As a result those passengers were charged the maximum possible fare instead of the fare for the journey undertaken.
Veolia, the Luas operator has acknowledged there is a problem and that refunds will be issued to those affected by cheque but only to those who apply. We however, cannot understand why Veolia cannot refund all affected smartcard holders directly to the smartcard. This technology is established; a record exists of every single smartcard holder affected so why should the affected passenger have to go through all the hassle of applying for a refund when they are not at fault? The RPA and Veolia are fully responsible for this ridiculous situation.
Our investigation has discovered that the entire smartcard system on the Luas has been disabled today (29th February) as a result of problems this morning, forcing all smartcard holders to pay in cash adding to the delays at the ticket machines. To add insult to injury smartcard holders who normally avail of discounted fares are now paying more.
As of 15:50 today (Friday 29th) there is no notice on www.luas.ie explaining the situation.
This farcical incident raises yet more questions of the troubled smart card ticketing project for Dublin, failure of the system to deal with leap years highlights a total failure to adequately test the software. Given the well documented Y2K issue, the lack of proper testing for this system is inexcusable and as usual, the fare paying public are the ones who bear the brunt.