Is Lo-Q dead?

Thursday, March 13, 2003 5:44 PM
To the best of my knowledge the Lo-Q systems at the SF parks are no longer operated by the people who did it last year. Due to them going under. Now my questions is, will parks continue to use it. (SFSTL is still)

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"Would you like a sports bottle with that? Its only an extra 2.35$ and your soul. For the extra cost you will receive the privilege to fill your cup with soda for only an additional $3.00. And if you act right now we'll throw in a straw (may be broken) an

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Thursday, March 13, 2003 6:15 PM
We can only hope.........

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, March 14, 2003 2:48 AM
Yes, infact, Ride Operators at our park (Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure) will now be stationed where Lo-Q employees once were. All aspects of Lo-Qing will now directly be run by the park, as aposed to previous years, where Lo-Q hired kids would work withing the park.

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Jes
Jes's Roller Coasters DJ Jes
Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure Ride-Ops Crew 2002-2003(Have Fun Trying To Find Me!)

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Friday, March 14, 2003 4:38 AM
But wasnt that the plan all along? I thought I remembered reading that the Lo-Q people would only be in the parks for a few years, then the whole operation would be internalized.

lata, jeremy
--who actually liked Lo-Q, but has disposable income...

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Friday, March 14, 2003 4:50 AM
I seem to recall the same thing, Jeremy.

--Greg, who agrees with Jeremy on liking the Lo-Q system.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Friendship -- more lasting than love, more legal than stalking."

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Friday, March 14, 2003 5:02 AM
See, in a nutshell, here's my problem:
a) Any of the 'virtual queue' systems do nothing to improve ride capacity, and actually serve to make everybody wait longer because they reduce the number of people who can be pulled out of the queue by the ride.

b) At Six Flags, the virtual queue system is nothing more than a scam designed to remove more cash from the park customer. For people who have disposable income, that's not such a big deal...but some of us work for non-profit entities which take their non-profit status so seriously that they think it extends to the employees...... :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Who loves his job, nonetheless...

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:10 AM
I agree with Dave on both counts, but still like *well-implemented* virtual queue systems. While the virtual queue doesn't increase capacity, a proper system won't decrease the capacity, either -- with smart capacity control (only X riders through the VQ at a time) and fair merging (VQ merges with the regular line at some point before the main station) the system should have a predictable impact on the wait times for non-VQ people.

Unfortunately, some parks do better than others. Heck, some RIDES do better than others even within the same park.

Tussaud's system works well. It's free *AND* operates in a fashion similar to Lo-Q -- go up to a station, and insert your admission ticket. Out comes your ticket, and a slip with a time range for you to enter the VQ. I haven't been to any of the Disney parks in a long time, but from what I gather it sounds like their system is similar to that.


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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Friendship -- more lasting than love, more legal than stalking."

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:12 AM
Heh. I'm am all for free virtual queuing ala CP's freeway or IOA's fastpass (or whatever it's called), especially since they aren't reducing capacity with them.

I haven't seen a well executed Six Flags virtual queueing system yet. I'm too poor.

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl
My shirt in my photo seems to be for "Aging Bull"

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:25 AM
Can someone explain how the Lo-Q system works? I know that it's supposed to reserve a 'ride time' for guests, but is there a separate queue for guests who have purchased it? Also, is it like FastPass in the sense that you cannot choose the car in which you want to ride?

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-Vater
'These pretzels are making me thirsty.'
Take a ride...

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:31 AM
Varies by ride. The basics are the same -- you scan your Q-Bot, and it gives you a time range to come back and enter the VQ entrance.

What that means varies, though. On some rides, the VQ is an entrance that merges with the regular queue at some point close to the station. Once you're merged in the line, you have the same choice of seats as any other rider. In my opinion, this is the RIGHT way to do it.

Option 2 is that the VQ feeds straight to the station (via the exit ramp, or completely separate entrance). From there, one of two things happens -- 2a is that a separate dedicated set of seats is set aside for the VQ people. This is a step down from option 1 because those "reserved" seats can end up going empty if nobody is in the VQ, reducing capacity needlessly. 2b is the VQ people in the station can pick their seats before anyone in the normal line can. This is also unfair to the normal line people, because they get held up completely while VQ'ers are let in.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Friendship -- more lasting than love, more legal than stalking."

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:49 AM

RideMan said:
See, in a nutshell, here's my problem:
a) Any of the 'virtual queue' systems do nothing to improve ride capacity, and actually serve to make everybody wait longer because they reduce the number of people who can be pulled out of the queue by the ride.

b) At Six Flags, the virtual queue system is nothing more than a scam designed to remove more cash from the park customer.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Who loves his job, nonetheless...


It may be true that the systems dont *icrease* capacity, per se, but they allow their users to increase the amount of attractions that they visit in a day. For example, by saving a "virtual" place in line for Chiller, I could use the time I *would* have been standing in line to cool off on Movie Town Water Effect, a ride that I would probably be inclined to skip in the interest of time.

Now, the gripe has been that they allow these "extra" rides at the cost of other guests. This is true, but not in the way most people purport. The guests impacted are *not* those in the "Lo-q'ed" rides, but rather those in the non Lo'queued lines...which tend to be small anyway. One would resonably have to assume that the guest who would Lo-Q NITRO, would, in the absence of Lo-Q, simply join the line for NITRO.

I think they all have their drawbacks, of course. In the SFI systems, often you cannot choose your seat, but the time often approximates the regular line. In the Disney program, the ratio of riders appears to be heavily skewed to the FPer's, but they have the best merging system. PKD's was just all a mess. The "best" thing was that you could abuse the system and get a ton of rides on Volcano (but who would would really WANT to ;)).


BTW: For the record, I work for the *biggest* non-profit in the country the Federal Government (or should that be biggest NEGATIVE profit). I wont speak on the SFI program being a "scam". But I will reiterate my oft-repeated point that the *first* thing that a park should do is make sure their operations are efficient. Then, and only then, should they agressively purse queue management schemes.

lata, jeremy
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"I will break away, I'll find myself today"

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Friday, March 14, 2003 7:54 AM
Thanks, Greg. I agree, the first option seems to be the most fair method. However, I wouldn't bat an eye if all systems like this were abandoned entirely. But that's me--I've never been fond of having a designated time to do anything at an amusement park. That's probably why I don't see shows too often.

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-Vater
'These pretzels are making me thirsty.'
Take a ride...

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Friday, March 14, 2003 10:47 AM
I just don't think it's good business to keep holding out your hand to guests and punish them for not going along. What a pain in the asphalt. Please, charge me once, and let me ride what I want to ride when I want to ride it without waiting longer so that someone can have a shorter wait because they paid. It takes away from my experience and decreases the liklihood I'll return as frequently.

I think that in the long run, they'd make much more money by trying to keep everyone happy.

Then again, if you have fewer people coming to the park because the unhappy ones don't return, the lines get shorter. On the flip side, forget about a 400' coasetr coming to your park any time soon.

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"Know thyself!"

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Friday, March 14, 2003 12:21 PM
I am all for Q-bot. Too me CP's freeway system is absolutely worthless unless you can somehow use it more then once. Otherwise you half to pick and choose. Joe Cool club is really no different then Q-bot in that those who pay more get to have more time.

Regardless. Q-Bot ultimately gives me more time to eat, ride other rides, see shows, or do other thigns that I woudl not normally do at a park. I have yet had to pay full price to use Q-bot as they usually have a deal going on. I belive last time I used it at GADV it was 21 dollars for 3 people. What a deal.

It's not as if those paying 40 bucks to get into a park in the first place, another 20 bucks on food, and another 20 on games and such can't afford 7 dollars for q-bot.

I have noted the differences in how it is implemented in some parks or rides. SFWOA for instance merges people before or at the station (X-Flight) and allows you to choose your own seat. SFGADV never merges into the line and only allows you to ride in designated seats.

I think WOA's system is ultimately fairer.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Friday, March 14, 2003 12:51 PM
I was just wondering the prices across the SF chain for the Lo-Q system. obviously SFGAd's is $7 per person. is the price the same in all SF parks or does it vary? are there any parks that offer it for free?

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-Bob (formerly Coaster Jedi)
Matt the mutt 1989-2003
gimmie a hell yeah!

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Friday, March 14, 2003 12:52 PM
It varies. The seven dollar special was not the regular price, but then again I never have paid the regular price for Q-Bot anywhere.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!


*** This post was edited by MagnumForce 3/14/2003 5:53:30 PM ***

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Friday, March 14, 2003 1:43 PM
My point is this: FIRST, max capacity. If you're single training a ride that can and should have two trains, selling any form of virtual queueing is theft, pure and simple...not only that, it angers *guests*...now, I may be a "Southerner" to some of you (and some might say I'm still a yankee), but it's downright inhospitable to steal from your guests....it makes for angry patrons all the way around...sounds like a *fun* day at the park, my guess is few will return.

Once you're maximizing capacity, then ANY virtual queueing system, free or otherwise, as Dave said, can do nothing about capacity...but it DOES require extra employees to run any sort of mulitiple-queueing without hindering capacity....from what I've seen, most parks just don't have extra staff available to do that, so capacity suffers for everyone, the virtual queue people and the other guests alike...Deja Vu was a KILLER for that from what I understand, a ride where capacity and waits were already *an issue*...Lo-Q, from what I understand, DID have a few benefits that the FP/FL systems didn't...
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Dr. Thrill IS my family practitioner
Would you just LOOK at what you've done to CoasterBuzz - you're going to have to clean it up ;)
*** This post was edited by rollergator 3/14/2003 6:45:09 PM ***

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Friday, March 14, 2003 5:47 PM
2Hostyl said:

The guests impacted are *not* those in the "Lo-q'ed" rides, but rather those in the non Lo'queued lines...which tend to be small anyway. One would resonably have to assume that the guest who would Lo-Q NITRO, would, in the absence of Lo-Q, simply join the line for NITRO.

But the person who's Lo-Q'd for Chiller may jump into Nitro's line anyway, making everyone wait for Nitro a little more. I agree that it'd be an amazingly good system if you couldn't enter a Lo-Q attraction while Lo-Q'd somewhere else, but that's just not the case.

Edit: An even more extreme and demonstrative case:

You Lo-Q for chiller and get in the regular line for chiller anyway.

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl
My shirt in my photo seems to be for "Aging Bull"
*** This post was edited by ApolloAndy 3/14/2003 10:55:22 PM ***

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:21 PM
FastPass, Freeway, Lo-Q, Universal Express -- the end result for the park is the same: grow revenue.

Disney has confirmed that FastPass has increased guest spending. I think the company line that folks who aren't in line are buying or eating is flawed. They're just at smaller attractions. But that does mean that they do cover more ground so maybe the turkey leg impulse purchase is more likely.

Disney can afford to offer this for free because it does increase guest spending since most of the park guests are not locals. Universal draws a larger percentage of the local crowd but it can use its all-day Universal Express Front-of-the-Line perk to help fill its three hotels.

I think Cedar Point's Freeway was a kneejerk reaction. It had to offer something. By limiting it to one pass each day it doesn't really overload the system.

Six Flags went a different way. It had to. Not only is a large percentage of the crowd local, but they are also on season passes. These aren't the people who are going to load up on souvenirs. These are the people who know where the low margin bargains are. These are the people who eat outside of the park. It's a fact. They don't spend as much at the park on any given visit than the outsiders.

Lo-Q helps pay the bills. Add up the amount made on any given day through Lo-Q. Do you think the average park guest would be willing to pay two bucks more for a non-Lo-Q park where all queues are created equal? Probably. But pro-rate that on a season pass basis. Would the average season passholder pay 25-35% more for a park without the favored queues? Probably not.

When you're flying coach on a plane you can moan about those riding first class on the other side of the curtain or you can realize that if those folks weren't paying 2-3 times the coach fare you would be paying a whole lot more for your seat.

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Friday, March 14, 2003 6:26 PM
First of all, any system that costs money should be tortured, beaten, and forbidden from any park.

Secondly, as always, the parks are targeting the GP and for the GP these systesm are just fine. They want to get a ride on all the major rides and not stsnd in line all day. However, as usual, these systems are not for the coaster enthusiast. If you are looking to get 10 rides on a major coaster the systems are useless.

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