Flash pass problems.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:58 PM

Ok, Let me start out by saying that I use the flash pass myself when at a six flags park.

But this weekend(sun), we decided to take a quick trip to sfne from lake compounce. It was only a 45 min drive, and we were done at lake compounce.

The park closed at 9, and we got there around 530. By this time, we both agreed that it was not worth buying a flash pass, as there was only 4 hours left in the operating day.

We decided to ride bizzaro, and the line was posted at an hour...not so bad right?...Wrong.

Ok, the line was moving very slow, and by time we got in the q right next to the stairs, the line stopped. We stood in the same spot for over 30 min while a sea of flash pass users were allowed into the station. We counted 86 people in front of us in line(we were bored at this point).It was just a nonstop line of flashpass users. It took us over a half hour to move thrue 2 short q lines, and the stairs. While waiting in line I noticed a LOT of flash pass users going up the stairs, but did not relize how bad it was till I got close to the station. Also, there seemed to be a lot of "special" passes being used at the exit of the ride as well.

Here is my problem. Now remember, I use the flash pass system myself and have nothing against the system. But the amount of people that were using the flash pass at Bizzaro was just outragious. We ended up standing in line for over 2 hours. That's double what was posted.

I have never ran into this problem at another six flags park. When I use the flash pass, I have never had that many people with flash passes lining up to ride a single ride. The number was in the hundreds. I think there needs to be a cap on how many people can reserve the same ride within a certain time period.

Anybody else have this problem?

Also, I can't wait to hear what Lord Gonchar has to say;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:01 PM

crazy horse said:
Also, there seemed to be a lot of "special" passes being used at the exit of the ride as well.

What's a 'special' pass?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:05 PM

Not sure. That's what the employie kept telling people in line that were being held up by these people with the passes.

These people were not injured did not have any health problems that we could see.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:11 PM

Sounds to me like that was the problem.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:13 PM

No...there were only about a dozen of them. There were hundreds of flash pass users.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:24 PM

Then it sounds like you ran into a bad situation.

Only once in my life have I seen a line form in the Flash Pass entry and that was Deja Vu at SFOG. What they ended up doing was splitting each train between the regular line and the FP line. It was a little wait for FP users, but still considerably less than stand-by and it kept both lines moving.

Not sure what the proper way to handle line anomolies like that is.

I'll take it as an indication of the level of acceptance the system has achieved. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:40 PM

It kind of sounds to me like the problem was not with the number of flash pass users, but rather the park's inability to account for them when posting the wait time for the regular line. Had they accounted for the number of reservations correctly, you would have been told it was a 2 hour wait and could have planned accordingly.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:43 PM

Can I change my answer to Carrie's? :)

She has a good point. If the wait was posted as 2 hours, would you have gotten in line? If so, you'd have no reason to be angry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:59 PM

I would have gotten in line expecting to wait 2 hours(as my friend has never been on this ride).

"It kind of sounds to me like the problem was not with the number of flash pass users, but rather the park's inability to account for them when posting the wait time for the regular line."

I agree with that but, I also think that they should not allow so many reservations within a 2 hour period.

I agree that the system is a winner, but to allow so many people at once is not right.

We went to six flags great adventure on sat, and got the gold flash pass. At no time durring our 42 coaster rides in one day, did we experiance more than a handfull of people using flash passes at once.

Even being a user of the flash pass, I would think that they would limit the amount of reservations per ride durring the same time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:48 PM

Perhaps. But I think that people would control that themselves with their decision to wait in the regular line or not. If the park is accounting for reservations correctly and posting accurate wait times for stand by, and as a result people stop waiting in the regular line, then the park would more than likely have to reduce the number of flash pass reservations at one time... unless they could sell enough flash passes to meet capacity. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:22 PM

When we were at SFGAdv we had a GFP. Nitro had been down for several hours. When we were in the station for BTR we noticed that they had opened up Nitro. We put in our reservation which was less then 3 minutes. We got 3 laps in with little wait using reservations. As we got off the 3rd trip and were heading for the entrance with our 4th reservation ready, we noticed that there were now hundreds of people in line and clogging the entrance area.

My assumption was that these people had regular FP and when it flashed that Nitro was open everyone put in their reservation at once. Needless to say, even with a reservation that was ready, we canceled it out and headed over to El Toro instead.

I wonder if there was a situation like this before you got to the park?

This could also explain why the large number of exit passes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:39 PM

I think there's also the potential for some programming error in terms of accounting for FP usage when posting waits...not to mention the idea that the programmers may have been told to allow X number of users for every 10-minute block only to have the park "adjust on the fly" without the programming in place to support these last-minute adjustments. (As an example, we were told initially that GFP could reduce waits by 75% - but in implementation, we've found they can reduce waits by 95% - clearly a decision made to try and increase usage of the GFPs....and it worked!). ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 5:22 PM

The wait time signs really don't help judge the line wait time at all which is another problem.

Since the wait time signs are just placed at various points in the queue saying the approximate wait time is ___ from this point there are so many variables that can not make them accurate. I'll use Nitro as an example, from the 30 minute sign with 3 trains running it is a 10 minute wait usually. If 2 trains are running it is 15 minutes, both of those estimates are with normal flashpass usage. Maybe if hundreds had used the flashpass entrance at once as mentioned in an above post, it would have been 30 minutes or longer from the 30 minute sign especially if 3 trains weren't running.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 10:16 PM

So, the moral of the story is that Flash Pass/Qbot is great if you're doing the passing, but sucks big time if you're the passee. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 11:47 PM

I think I can shed some light on this. I was there on Monday and experienced the same thing. The problem was that Bizarro had been down for while just before we got in line. Therefore all the folks that had a FP reservation during the closure were delayed until the ride reopened. It made for quite a crush on the FP entrance stairs and slowed the regular line to a crawl. An expected 45 minute wait ballooned to almost 90 minutes.

As for the special passes. SFNE is doing a frequent attendance reward program this year call Funatics. Season Pass holders can earn an exit pass good at any ride with just one day in the park. These passes are sent via email and can be used on the next visit.

Last edited by depotrat, Wednesday, September 9, 2009 11:48 PM
Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:01 AM

So there you go, crazy horse. Down time.

Down time seriously screws with any VQ system.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:27 AM

It especially "screwed" with us since it was late in the day and there was no way to slowly mix the delayed FP reserevations into the regular line over a longer period of time since the park was soon to close.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 8:13 AM

^Or it was bad luck and not in the coaster gods' plans for you to be there that day...hopefully nothing in your gut said 'don't go' beforehand, since usually ignoring that ends in a bad experience.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 11:10 AM

^ LOL the trip there had nothing to do with "coaster gods" and everything to do with a teenage daughter wanting to see the Push Play / Hey Monday concert in the Grove. The coaster ride was just a small part of the day after the "important stuff!!" LOL

Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:25 PM

^Haha! Well, I just know the smoothest and best park trips I have (like Cedar Point last week!) occur when everything seems to "go right" in the time and planning leading up to it. Bummer I missed Hey Monday, which I dig!


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