Can You Track My Bus Travels?

I am quite reluctant to blog about this topic, because whenever I think about it, I sound like I’ve joined the black helicopter and tin foil hat lunatics found both on the Left and the Right.  Yet, it’s something that comes to my mind almost every time I ride public transportation, which is at least twice daily.

You’ve gleaned from my moniker, aspergerspoet, that I have Asperger’s syndrome, which means I am on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum.  In the eyes of COTA, the Central Ohio Transit Authority, this qualifies me as handicapped.  One of the benefits I reap from this is that I am allowed to use a Key Card when travelling on the bus.  The Key Card allows me to pay half fare when riding the bus.  All I needed was for my physician to certify me, and then I went in, had the below card produced, and I was all set to ride the bus at half what I had been paying.

Using it is quite simple.  When I board the bus, I swipe this card through the slot, and follow it up with my monthly bus pass or, if I don’t have the pass with me, the right amount of currency.

I do wonder, however, if that means there is a record somewhere of every bus trip I take when I use my Key Card.  The average COTA rider pays his/her fare anonymously; there is no record of boarding or of exiting the bus.  Even someone with a bus pass can stay untracked, since you usually buy them at the COTA office or at the grocery store, pay cash, and get the next card in the stack.

But those of us with Key Cards swipe them each time we board, and the bus has to at least acknowledge that the card is valid.  It probably ends there, but there’s a part of me that wonders if having a Key Card is analogous to a gimmick Bil Keane uses in his Family Circus Sunday panels sometimes.  In those, he shows the roundabouts paths one or all of the kids in the story may take in the house, neighborhood, or school, by showing a black dotted line following the kid from point A to point B, with certain landmarks designated.

I have seen enough episodes of Law and Order to wonder if maybe I should be thankful for such a tracking system, if indeed it existed.  A staple of the original show was that Act I always featured a credible suspect who ended up being a complete red herring.  The detectives cleared more than one suspect by running a transit card and showing the person was clear in another borough, or on the other end of Manhattan, at the time a murder was happening.  So maybe such a tracking system could help me keep my freedom in some extreme situation in the future.

I’m typing this at the end of a long day.  The work is truly accumulating around me at the job, and I only came home an hour ago.  Susie had choir practice tonight at church, while I was at the monthly Bible study in another room.  So, it’s highly likely I will be asleep on this side of midnight.  I’m typing this while I’m listening to the first disk of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.  I thought about listening to the entire album tonight, but I doubt I’ll make it through.  (I may save the other disk for work tomorrow.)

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