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Okay, Karen – here’s a hard one for you

By queen
Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 12:24 pm in Misc. Transportation.

In the post before this one, the Queen ran a photo taken at a BART station and asked readers to identify it. One reader, Karen, who responded (and correctly) challenged the Queen to ask a harder question, so here it is: Who invented the stored value card? Whoever gets it right will in actual truth and reality get a BART-related object of value. (No, not a fare card. Dream on.) Seriously, though, Karen and other experts, show me some stuff!

(Photo: brandi666 on flickr.)

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9 Responses to “Okay, Karen – here’s a hard one for you”

  1. david vartanoff Says:

    the first machine readable tickets were marketed by Litton Industries in the early 1960s. An experimenatal installation on the Long Island RR, was followed by introduction on the Illinois Central begining in 1965 with installation of the TVMs. and a roll out of usage scheduled for July 1966.
    On the east coast, the upgraded and extended PATCO system linking Center City Philadelphia w/ New Jersey suburbs east of Camden opened w/ electronic fare gates in 1969

  2. Queen Says:

    You people are amazing. Sixteen minutes later, David Vartanoff comes through with an answer. Okay, all you transit experts: Is he right?

  3. Chris K. Says:

    He’s a personal friend of mine, and when it comes to ANYTHING related to public transit, he’s right 99% of the time.

  4. Steven L. Says:

    Were these machine-readable tickets capable of being used multiple times? I think that’s what “stored value card” would imply. From that understanding, I’d say the first stored value card was in Italy back in 1975, which were first used for vending machines by a company called SIDA, and then a little later on deployed for payphones.

  5. Steven L. Says:

    Okay, I feel pretty stupid, since BART tickets would already have been available by then. For some reason I got stuck on the “card” part…

  6. david vartanoff Says:

    stored value is the slippery phrase here. Looking at the pic, I saw mag stripe tickets which is why I cited the early rail adopters. However if Queen truly meant the various pseudo cash cards such as the vending machine usage you describe, whole different story.

  7. Chris K. Says:

    Well BART has used magnetic strip tickets since they started, all the way back in 1972.

  8. Queen Says:

    Okay, well, you have both displayed such breadth of knowledge that I declare you both winners! You can e-mail to let me know the address where your prizes should be sent. Also you have a choice of prizes, so drop me a note.

    While we’re at it, could you elaborate a bit on the difference between magnetic strip tickets, machine-readable tickets capable of being used multiple times and stored value cards? It appears to the Queen that she unknowingly misused a term of art.

    Perhaps all machine-readable tickets of multiple use are magnetic strip tickets, but not all magnetic strip tickets are machine-readable tickets of multiple use?

  9. Queen Says:

    P.S.: In case the Queen failed to be absolutely clear, both David Vartanoff and Steven L. are winners. Hey Karen! You can jump in too if you like!

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