Monday, June 11, 2007

Suica and Pasmo as RFID money

My Suica card has been developing some funk. It has been slamming the gate shut on my legs, which leads me to think I haven't gone through, but when I check it, they say I have gone through. Then today it didn't work in the subway. It whacked me in the legs when I went back into JR, so I thought I hadn't gone in. The JR man placed it on his electronic tray and did something to it and told me to go through again. I didn't get slammed.

I'm not sure what it is but the problem I usually have is slipping through too quickly, because I tend to walk fast and somehow get through while it is reading the card, but it fails to slam on me or detect anything until I try to get out of the station and find I still haven't entered. I thought maybe they had upgraded the software of the machines or something but maybe the card is getting fried. What is the design lifetime of these things? I guess I will run the remaining ¥3000 down to zero and retire it in favor of the Pasmo, my newest card. I wasn't sure that the Suica would be interoperable when the Pasmo came out, although I knew the Pasmo would. Answer: Yes, the Suica became interoperable on all the same services the new Pasmo works on, so I never needed to buy the Pasmo in the first place.

I didn't like the RFID-based Suica at first, but had to switch to it when the io card (pictures) was phased out. I came to like it since there was no need to register any personal data as I expected, and you can buy lots of things with it, not just train rides, but bus and other transport. You can use it in vending machines and pay for things with it at convenience stores and probably other stores, restaurants, and hotels by now. That eliminates the need to carry coins and bills around and the unsanitary disease-carrying physical money. It still seems that if you just scan it, the one charging you could just grab all of the value off of it, though, so it isn't the most secure thing, and won't replace cash, but is a convenient variation of cash.

As you can see from the top scan, my suica card has developed an interesting appearance from scratching against coins and keys in my pocket. The third card is an image from wikipedia of how it is supposed to look when it is new.

No comments: