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Thread: RFID Tickets

  1. #1

    RFID Tickets

    I have been to many areas that have this technology - it works great.

    I just read that Wachusett now has it. http://www.telegram.com/sports/20170...ectronic-rides



    I wonder why Sugarbush has not invested in this system. Is the initial investment too much?

  2. #2
    I am not a fan of rfid systems. Ticket scanners make the resort feel more human. To me it seems like this societies stupid obsession with wireless, kinda electronics with the slow inefficient wireless chargers and bluetooth for earbuds.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    I am not a fan of rfid systems. Ticket scanners make the resort feel more human. To me it seems like this societies stupid obsession with wireless, kinda electronics with the slow inefficient wireless chargers and bluetooth for earbuds.

    I have yet to visit a resort with an RFID system. My last trip off the mountain to ride in the past 2 years has been to Black, Loon, and Mt Snow, and all still employed ticket checkers.

    The number of "gates" that would be required at Sugarbush for such a system would be pretty high. You'd need to cover all your "bases": Valley House, Bravo, Gate House, GMX, Sunny D, and Inverness, and possibly the Village Double. And also you'd have to hit Slide Brook on the Ellen side as well, since the Mt Ellen only passes would stop you there. And you'd also have to, I assume, staff at least one person at the gate to get those invalids out of the line somehow. I'm not sure how it all works, to be honest.

    The point of the resort feeling more human is also a part of it. The ticket checkers are your first line of defense for such questions as "where's the best snow?" "is heaven's gate open?" "how do i get to Mt Ellen?" "Is there any beginner terrain off the top of Castlerock?" etc etc. I've always liked that about Sugarbush.

  4. #4
    The initial investment would be high but would pay off in several years with savings on some ticket checkers salary and burden. Still need someone to man the gates and deal with issues. My issue with the scanners is when one pass won't scan and they hold up the line and empty chairs start going up. After a couple seconds just look at the pass and verify it like the old days

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    I am not a fan of rfid systems. Ticket scanners make the resort feel more human. To me it seems like this societies stupid obsession with wireless, kinda electronics with the slow inefficient wireless chargers and bluetooth for earbuds.
    Personally - I like technology that makes things more efficient. I like my fast lane pass,... I do not miss the toll booths on the Mass Pike. I like my Iphone and Ipad - I don't miss going to the library. I could go on and on,.... I do enjoy to say hello to the ticket checkers,... my kids love Bogo - But it is a minor annoyance when the scanners don't work and you see empty chairs going up. I have been to other areas - and they work really well. As far as the investment - I have no idea what the cost is. But maybe they would not need to install gates at ALL chairs. They could install on just the busy ones. Some of the others chairs could be staffed by manual ticket checkers with a gun. Any investment in the hardware would be returned over time,... AND any money saved could be used to invest in more snow making.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dblshot View Post
    The initial investment would be high but would pay off in several years with savings on some ticket checkers salary and burden. Still need someone to man the gates and deal with issues. My issue with the scanners is when one pass won't scan and they hold up the line and empty chairs start going up. After a couple seconds just look at the pass and verify it like the old days
    Just looking at a pass and verifying it only works for the paper tickets. It doesn't tell you if a pass is inactive, hotlisted, etc. For instance, I have a collection of passes. I seem to get a different one each year as an employee. Just one of them is active. But you'd never know it until you scan them as they have no years listed on them. For someone else who may have had a pass from a previous year and doesn't this year, they could in theory put that pass on their jacket and if they don't get scanned, the ticket checker would never know that's a bad pass- if going by the look only.

    When I used to check tickets (and still do, on occasion), if I got a bad pass, I'd try scanning it a couple times, then ask them to move outside the line for further instructions. I agree, we don't want to send empty chairs up, but at the same time, you can't let someone with an invalid pass get past the base of Bravo (or Valley House or Gate House or GMX). The old "I'll get it taken care of next time" doesn't work as they can easily disappear on the upper mtn, enjoying HG or the Rock all day for free, knowing they got past the base. That's just not fair to those who purchase passes or tickets.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by shadyjay View Post
    Just looking at a pass and verifying it only works for the paper tickets. It doesn't tell you if a pass is inactive, hotlisted, etc. For instance, I have a collection of passes. I seem to get a different one each year as an employee. Just one of them is active. But you'd never know it until you scan them as they have no years listed on them. For someone else who may have had a pass from a previous year and doesn't this year, they could in theory put that pass on their jacket and if they don't get scanned, the ticket checker would never know that's a bad pass- if going by the look only.
    Very valid. I technically have 2 passes, but only one is active. Last year I fell on FIS and lost my pass (didn't realize it until I was going into the Glen House for a break). Once I realized it I figured there was little chance of finding it as I didn't even know exactly where I lost it (and there was a lot of powder on the bumps that day so figured it was buried anyway). Went down to the base and got a replacement. A little while later I'm loading on summit chair and see my pass sitting on the control panel. Someone found it and gave it to the lifities. I picked it up next time around as it still had the retractable pass holder attached (and in tact). Looking at the passes you wouldn't know one is valid and the other isn't.

    Although fwiw, I've had several times where my pass wouldn't scan and the person just waves me through (not sure if that is because I've been through the line already a few times and they recognize me or if that person just does that anytime they have problems scanning).
    Last edited by cdskier; 01-27-2017 at 11:47 AM.

  8. #8
    I am also not sure mountains save money with RFID since the Chips cost more than paper tickets. Stowe charges you $5 for there RFID tickets presumable so people reuse there chips.

  9. #9
    Just put the year on the passes like they used to. Good point on the cost of the chip

  10. #10
    Hawk's Avatar
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    RFID rules. It always works and makes the lift line move along. My sugarbush pass never works and it takes them several tries every time to get me through. I have done RFID at Stowe, Jay, Snowbird, Big Sky, everywhere and it is always a pleasure. But Sugarbush will never implement it because it will cost them too much up front. I have asked for this many time and I always get the same answer. The have already invested in the system they have.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    RFID rules. It always works and makes the lift line move along. My sugarbush pass never works and it takes them several tries every time to get me through. I have done RFID at Stowe, Jay, Snowbird, Big Sky, everywhere and it is always a pleasure. But Sugarbush will never implement it because it will cost them too much up front. I have asked for this many time and I always get the same answer. The have already invested in the system they have.
    Hawk,
    If your pass is not working I would suggest you get a new one. The bar codes can scratch and cause your pass to not scan well. Also if you keep it is in a plastic container moisture can cause it not to scan well either. The batteries can drain too and wi;; then need to be switched for another and recharged.

    As far as rfid you are correct we were an early adopter of RTP's scanning system, and we felt capex dollars were better spent elsewhere since the system worked. However, at some point in the not too distant future we will likely make the transition to rfid but it it a decision that needs to be made with other systems we may replace so they integrate. It does save some labor costs but more importantly can offer a number of positive guest service add-ones.

  12. #12
    I like the RFID systems. However, I have only seen the kind with turnstyle gates.

    What I think would work well at Sugarbush is a wand for the lifties to scan passes with just like they do today. Many new ski jackets have a zipper pocked on the forearm/wrist area for RFID type tickets. You just tell the liftie to scan your arm with his wand. I don't need a pass dangling from my pants that I then fiddle with to present to the liftie. It's way easier to just present my arm and have him/her tap it.

    I do think though, there are better places to put the mountains money right now. And the few times I have been to Stowe, that $5 just for the card is hard to swallow when I'm paying $100 for the ticket already.

    The barcode scanning system also adds some security for season passes because of the photo on it. It gives the lifties the chance to make sure the photo is at least close to the person wearing the pass.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by brave fellow View Post
    The barcode scanning system also adds some security for season passes because of the photo on it. It gives the lifties the chance to make sure the photo is at least close to the person wearing the pass.
    With RFID a 45 year old can use a children pass.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Benski View Post
    With RFID a 45 year old can use a children pass.
    Not really...many systems will show a photo of the passholder when the RFID pass is scanned. Some of the gate systems even use biometrics (height, build, etc) to determine whether the the person using the pass is the right person before allowing them through. Some systems even for day tickets will work that way. The first time through the system "measures" you and then all subsequent passes through need to roughly match what it recorded the first time. That prevents someone from sharing or selling/giving away a day ticket after they are done using it.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by winjr View Post
    Hawk,

    As far as rfid you are correct we were an early adopter of RTP's scanning system, and we felt capex dollars were better spent elsewhere since the system worked. However, at some point in the not too distant future we will likely make the transition to rfid but it it a decision that needs to be made with other systems we may replace so they integrate. It does save some labor costs but more importantly can offer a number of positive guest service add-ones.
    That's good to hear Win. I really love the RFID that they have at Stowe and Jay as it is very efficient and no one is fumbling to find a pass or scan it like you are at the checkout lane at your grocery store. I think it would work great at Sugarbush. The human element is there as the gate employee at each lift is there answering questions, saying how's your day going, stuff like that. I would assume it is a huge capital investment up front because you need to overhaul the entire ticketing process, from the online store straight through the ticket counters to the lift check point.

    I have to imagine the biggest plus of the system is offering more direct-to-lift products once someone has that RFID card in their possession.

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