30 September, 2014

Payment Wristband on the London Underground

I previously blogged about making a paytag sticker into a wristband. Later Barclays Bank released a variation: bpay, a prepay mastercard already in a wristband.

The wristband holder is pretty shitty and falloffable: it is bulky and I know two people (one being myself) who have lost their bands accidentally. I've rehoused mine on a woven bracelet.

Being a pre-pay band, this chip does an online authorisation for every transaction, making it sometimes a little slower. But for the same reason, they expose authorisations (not just cleared transactions) in their live online statement.

I recently made my first journey on the London Overground using bpay (I've been on their contactless payment trial for 6 months but using a different card) and I got to see an initial authorisation that I hadn't seen before with my previous (post-paid) card:

0908 Enter train system at Wapping station
0915 bpay sees this authorization:
Auth: TfL Travel Charge,TFL.gov.uk/CP,GB 29/09/2014 9:14:50 Posted On: 29/09/2014 GBP 0.10
0922 Leave train system at Shoreditch High Street
then around close of business on day+1, that Auth gets replaced with the actual charge:
    Fin: TFL.GOV.UK/CP,VICTORIA,TFL TRAVEL C   30/09/2014  18:07:58  Posted On: 29/09/2014  GBP 7.20

Interesting that they charge 10p for authorization rather than the minimum single fare. Also note that the description of the transaction changes (to something less readable, IMO) - that seems to happen from other merchants too. Weirdos.

02 September, 2014

Boris bike tidal flow

Docking status information is available in XML for the London bike hire scheme ("Boris bikes").

I made this video (AVI) (animated GIF) of tidal flow as areas get busy or empty during the day, an animated version of the image below using data from Saturday evening until Tuesday lunchtime.

Each point represents a docking station. You can see how the shape of this cloud sits over London on this Google map. Blue means empty docking station. Red means full docking station. Light blue and light red mean almost empty and almost full, respectively.

Not so much on Saturday and Sunday, but clearly (to me) on Monday you can see a 9am rush hour move of bikes into the centre, and a 5pm move of bikes back out to the edges again.