The San Francisco transit system found itself unable to issue tickets from the system wide network this past weekend. Apparantly the electronic IT systems had been 'hacked' purportedly from Russia. A ransom letter was sent to the MUNI management demanding a certain amount (in Bitcoin) before the 'bugs' would be removed. In the meantime riders finding themselves unable to purchase tickets at the prepaid issuing machines were given free rides across the network.
All this goes to show that the more we are steered to paperless electronic systems the more likely theft and withholding of information and data will occur. Not even the Pentagon and CIA are immune from data hacking whilst banks and financial services are an automatic target.
One of the remarkable Muni trolleybuses seen here on Market Street and a PCC car in Cincinnati's fleet livery with a topical destination.
This is the first time a public transport network has been hacked into this way and places major systems on warning of similar attempts targetting their IT resources. London's Oystercard being a prime target no doubt. Blackpool's conductor staffed trams are relatively immune from this sort of cyber hacking. Inevitably the Operator will be considering implementation of prepayment systems at some point in the future. Weaning tram riders and particularly visitors off 'paying the conductor' may however take some doing during the summer season. All Images :