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I was going to post relatively early yesterday, while having dinner before going to trivia night, but I just couldn't think of anything I wanted to write. I was in a grumpy mood all day anyhow, after letting Monday and most of Tuesday pass without doing anything productive, and then having some work unexpectedly show up, meaning once again that I'd let free time slip by without taking advantage of it to accomplish some personal tasks and now I would be too busy to deal with those tasks. After trivia I was still in a grumpy mood; I went down to Bauhaus to try to get some work done and also write my journal post, but although I did accomplish a quick and easy work task, I wasn't able to concentrate to write in my journal and decided to just give up and head home.

Attempting to head home is when the minor transit trouble came up. I have an ORCA transit card with an online account tied to one of my credit cards. I set it up with a nominal balance of $20 in the ORCA account, and it's supposed to automatically charge my credit card another $20 every time the online account runs out. This should happen right on the bus whenever I tap the reader and my balance needs refreshing. Once again, for the third or fourth time in as many months, when I tapped my ORCA transit card as I got on the bus, instead of refreshing my account, it simply deducted the remaining funds (only $0.25 left at the time) and told me I still owed the remaining $2 for the ride. I've been finding this infuriating and incomprehensible; why did it keep letting my balance run out and not auto-charge my card to refresh it as needed? It was particularly infuriating because when this has happened, it's taken at least a full two days for my account to refresh again. So I'd be stuck having to make sure I had dollar bills and quarters on hand so that I could use the bus, without any good idea of how long it would be until my card would work again.

Today though I looked for some answers on the ORCA website, before calling them to complain at great length. And rather to my surprise, I did find the answer. I don't know what the reasoning is behind this, but the system is set up so that it cannot autoload an account more than five times a month. It hadn't occurred to me that I'd been using the bus so much more frequently since the car crash, but sure enough it made sense and explained why I'd only been having this trouble in the past several months. I'm fairly sure that the autoload function has been failing after four uses in a month, not five, but still that is the likeliest explanation.

Fortunately the solution is fairly simple as well; I just changed the autoload value to a higher amount so that it would have to refresh less often. Now I am curious to compare my transportation expenses before and after the accident and see whether using the bus all the time is less expensive. I know I was only fueling my car about once a month, but then there were also expenses such as insurance, parking, and maintenance. My transportation costs so far post-accident have been bus fares and taxi fares (so far I've used a taxi I believe only twice in six months, and one of those times I would've taken the bus if I'd been by myself), though there's also the nebulous cost in extra time spent on slow and roundabout bus routes instead of driving directly. Even if I'm spending less overall on transportation, I know there will be times that having access to a personal vehicle will be useful or even necessary. No decisions yet on how I'm going to handle that, long-term.


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The List: June 2011

List of tasks or activities I need or want to do this month.

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