Friday, January 18, 2008

Laziness, arrogance, or just a big heart?

A friend of mine told me that he's been seeing unfinished BART tickets being left around at stations. The amount on the tickets range from 50 cents to $3. I've seen abandoned tickets too. Sometimes they are left on top of the turnstiles, other times they are left by the ticket machines, or just dropped on the ground.

Are people too lazy to insert the amount of money needed to get them home? Or is the remaining amount so insignificant to them that they don't mind just tossing it? Or do they want to save someone else a few bucks and make their day?? I think it's all of the above?

I save up my small amount tickets for donations later but I guess leaving it for someone else to use is serving a similar purpose....kind of. I receive monthly commuter checks so I choose not to take the time to insert the remaining amount needed to get me to my destination. Lining up and then inserting the right amount will probably make me miss my train....since I always only have a few seconds to spare. From the commuter checks, I have collected a small stack of large amount BART tickets waiting to be I can see why people some people would leave their tickets instead of finishing up the amount themselves. Am I lazy? Yeah, I admit it. Too rushed? Definitely! Arrogance? Not really. $2 can buy a greasy but good meal at Jack in the Box!

As long as someone is using or collecting these abandoned tickets and they are not just being thrown away, I think it's fine! Some people might not care about $2.20 but I'm sure there are people who would be happy to pick up a partially free ticket and save that money to buy candy for their kids.

I always recommend saving the small amounts and just donate it!


Anonymous said...

Picking them up is good - you can turn (or mail) them in for a whole, big ticket. Or, donate them at your local church or library.

Also, some of the riders (homeless, etc.) fight over them, it's good that they are not left lying around. Saves a lot of trouble for the regular riders.

Anonymous said...

I've found tickets like these before. I always grab them and then top 'em off enough to take 1 trip with pocket change. I find it to be a much better alternative to coinstar.

Anonymous said...

Regarding being rushed: I try to save that "last use" ticket for the ride home. That way I can addfare at my leisure before exiting the station. Since it's on the way home, there's usually no rush. That means carrying two tickets in my wallet once every two or three weeks. Not a big deal to administer.

I expect I would treat a found ticket much like a found dollar bill. I don't think I would say "ah-ah-ah, that's technically not mine, gotta donate that." As long as I continue to pursue my regular schedule of donations, I'm still spreading around my share of good fortune. (Speaking of which, technically you are misappropriating your employer's commute subsidy. If you have to spend more on tickets than is covered by the subsidy, it's effectively a wash as to whether you are donating your leftovers or theirs, but if the subsidy covers the whole month, giving away the leftovers is probably in violation of the terms of your program. Straining at gnats, perhaps, but something to consider.)

I agree with anon #2 about coinstar: BART gives you full value for your coins, while coinstar shaves 9% off the top. That means that you have 9% more (from that source, anyway) to donate when the time comes around to do so.

Sometimes, when a ticket is down to a nickel or two, I just give it to the kids. They think it's cool; a little imagination and the magnetic strip becomes a coded spy message! Or a ticket to Saturn! :)