Flexus System: A System of Dawn

I have been living in Norway for three years. I came here as a student. When I came here, I had found the public transportation system quite comprehensive and efficient. My positive impression, however, faded away with the catastrophic introduction of the Flexus system, which should be taught as a project management failure at universities.

The barriers in the underground system (T-Bane) in Oslo were set up in connection with the introduction of this electronic ticket Flexus. I had passed the barriers wondering how they would be fully used. Later I learned that they probably will not be used at all, namely tens of millions which was invested for building those barriers have been superfluous. The worst part is that they still stand as ugly metal bulks in the t-bane stations

Then, the public transportation agency, Ruter, promoted the new electronic cards in place of the paper tickets. Last year, they almost succeeded in a complete transition to the electronic ticket system. However, the Ruter authorities were so happy with their "super invention", that they were not aware of the deficiencies in their system, especially when it combined with the aggressive ticket inspection teams.

As you all know, the Flexus cards need to be validated through the ticket validators in buses, trams and t-bane stations. This process is supposed to let you check whether your card is valid or not. However, I could seldom find any functioning validator at stations and on board. It is not surprising anymore to encounter the message of "Ut av Drift" (Out of Order), when you approach the validators, especially in areas far from the center.

This weekend, I was welcomed with the same error message, when I intended to check my flexus card. As I was sure the due date was the following day, I took the coming T-bane from Blindern and headed to Grønland. As I arrived there, a group of ticket inspectors had surrounded all exits. I confidently approached to the control zone and handed my Flexus in a cool manner. However, when the stone faced inspector touched my card on the device he was holding, a red light appeared, which was a sign of an expired card. Then while I was trying to ask what is going on, he immediately fined me by saying my card was due 1 hour ago. I tried to tell the man how I couldn’t possibly know whether it is valid or not when the validator was not working in the station I took T-bane, but he did not even listen or spoke one single word except only to suggested that I present the fine slip, if I happen to encounter another control in another spot that day.

I tried to complain about the incident to Ruter AS, but they kindly welcomed me as a sneaky immigrant trying to exploit the public transportation of Oslo. Whatever happens, I will still try to keep my hope that there are people who can judge this "system" in this city. I have a hope.

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