Text Dodgy, er Dodger to 60006

Seen on a National Express train to Stanstead

Seen on a National Express train to Stanstead

Yesterday I set off for Crossover Nordic with the intention of starting a blog about the experience as a springboard for blogging about work stuff, music and other digitalia.

I saw this and thought it was a good place to kick off – a sign asking people to use an SMS shortcode to report fare dodging.  It’s a little creepy to me – asking people to use their mobiles to snitch on each other just seems like using technology for vigilante-ism.  How do you know someone’s evading their fare?  How do you describe them in a way that’s meaningful enough for the authorities to catch them in less than 160 characters (minus the keyword ‘dodger’)?  Wouldn’t it be easy to cause someone alot of trouble by texting in to tattle on them even though they’d paid.  (My mischevious side loves the idea of doing it as a prank but…)

Being curious I texted in ‘Surely someone on this train must be dodging their fare.’  The answer I got back was just a general reply:

Thank you, we will be reviewing your information and acting accordingly.  National Express East Anglia Revenue Protection Unit.

Hmmm.  And I was expecting storm trooper fare collectors to rush onto the train with nets to catch the fare dodgers.  Slightly disappointing.

Slightly disappointing, also, that they’re using technology this way.  I don’t like the idea of us all using our mobiles for surveillance, especially when I doubt it can be done effectively.  I think they keyword for their system should be ‘dodgy‘ and not ‘dodger.’

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3 responses to “Text Dodgy, er Dodger to 60006

  1. Pingback: National Express - Welcome to the Rail Police State « Irresponsibility

  2. I don’t think National Express East Anglia actually do anything about the texts.

    I’m guessing the advertising campaign is there to deter fare-dodgers by making them paranoid about the possibility of customers texting in about them. Sounds like it’s just a mind game to me and doesn’t make me think twice about hopping onto a train without paying.

    I’m actually thinking of ripping off one of those posters and making the ‘TEXT DODGER TO 60006’ symbol into a badge. Think it would look good.

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