In looking at the info (pasted below) on the redesigned website it looks like while SFGAm will be offering an electronic Flash Pass of some kind it won't be the "unlimited use" variety. I guess I was hoping for a conventional Qbot system not a pay per ride system similar to what they have now. Here's what the site says:
"Six Flags Great America's virtual ride reservation system holds your place in line electronically, so you can spend more time having fun and less time waiting for our most popular attractions. When it's almost time for your turn to ride, an alert is sent to your Flash Pass device. It's that simple.
Flash Passes can be purchased for $15* (Monday-Friday) or $20* (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays) at the ticket booths, the Flash Pass booth (behind Guest Relations in Six Flags Plaza) or at the Guest Necessities Center.
A limited number of Flash Passes are available for purchase each operating day. The passes will be available only while supplies last and are valid only on the day of purchase. Please check at the Flash Pass booth for a list of specific rides available.
The Flash Pass program does not require any sort of reservation or pre-determined arrival time. All you have to do is choose your ride and follow the directions provided. Each Flash Pass is good for four priority boarding opportunities, however you want to use them:
The price is much more reasonable, and with the limited use, should be much better accepted by the non Flash Pass using guests.
This system sounds like it's more limiting than the Lo-Q system, and I'm definitely for a system with more limits (the limiting factors here being price and availability).
I could see how Lo-Q could be implemented to respond in this way, though. All it takes is some software tweaks to allow for the change in boarding and reservation processes.
For example, scan the Q-Bot for Kingda Ka, and when your time comes if you and a friend use it, the op scans it twice in the station (since you've used 2 of the boarding opportunities). When you've used all 4 boarding opportunities, the op would keep the QBot, and you go on your merry way.
I like this system better than the old system, because it still gives the opportunity of ducking some of the lines, but making it more affordable so that more people have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Also, there's a good possibility that most if not all of the flash passes will be used by the time the night-only crowds come.
One thing I'd be interested in knowing, though (and it might be on the website but I don't have time to check now) -- is there a limit of one set of 4 boarding opportunities per person? Is there any limit at all? Or could I theoretically buy 400 boarding opportunities for $1500 on a Tuesday? (Obviously I have to use them same-day, so it probably wouldn't be the best idea.. but even still, that's something I wonder)
Great adventure though just moved and expanded the flash pass building. So I am pretty sure thats just a mistake they made with the new site.
It's just not fair
It's entirely fair---everyone has the same opportunity to decide how best to spend the resources available to them. You have exactly the same opportunity to buy a flashpass as the next guy. You may decide that it's not worth it to you. The other guy may decide differently. The fact that you make different decisions isn't "unfair", it's just different valuations of the same opportunity. In short, you value your $10 more than your time. He values his time more than his $10.
The same is true in your supermarket example. Provided you had the same opportunity to pay $10 to reduce the uncertainty of when you check out, it's totally fair. It's *not* fair if you never had the *opportunity* to trade money for certainty. You chose to take the risk of uncertainty, and keep your $10. He chose to buy certainty of check-out time with his $10.
Now, if your fundamental complaint is that some people have more money than others, well, yes, you are entirely correct. The way I value an hour of my family's time is probably somewhat different from most, but in my case, it's fairly easy---both my wife and I have consulting businesses where we bill clients directly for time, and so I know, *precisely*, what an hour of my family's time is worth.
As an example: it's almost never worth it to me to fly home from vacation on a Monday rather than a Sunday to save money on airfare, because even ignoring the extra hotel night, we lose more money in lost income than we save in reduced airfare. Others have different constraints; the savings in airfare is greater than any lost income. This could be because they get a salary, and the extra day costs only a vacation day, and not real dollars. Or, it could be because the lost income is less than the saved air fare.
Another example: most cities have higher property tax rates than the surrounding suburbs. But, most jobs are in the cities, so commute costs from the suburbs are higher. If you have a very nice, expensive house, you save more by paying taxes in the suburbs than you spend in commute costs. If your home is more modest, you save more by cutting commute time at a higher property tax cost. Is it unfair that the taxes are different in the city than in the suburbs? No. If anything, the unfairness is that some people can afford McMansions, and others can't.
The bad news is: different people have different levels of discretionary income, and that's just the way the world works. If a theme park can make more money by exploiting this fact, then they absolutely will do so, and wishing that they would not is like hoping the earth will stop spinning. As the pay-to-cut systems spread, it would appear that more and more park operators have decided that, yes, they do in fact make more money this way.
They could be wrong, and you could be right---this could drive away so many guests that they end up losing money. But, so far, I am not aware of *any* park that had a pay-to-cut system and got rid of it. Universal Orlando got rid of their free system, and now has only a paid version---paid either in cash, or indirectly by staying in their high-dollar hotels. Cedar Point got rid of its free system. Disney parks have retained their free system, but TWDC has patents on versions that reward higher levels of guest spending with better access. Six Flags parks that had them have retained their paid systems. Dollywood is expanding theirs.
You could be right, and Universal, Six Flags, and Dollywood could all be wrong. If I were a betting man, I know where I'd put my money.
Mark Small said:
Well, looking at the Great Adventure site, which previously used the Lo-Q system, the Flash Pass is the same as the SFGAm site, so guess we'll just have to wait and see.
The page most parks show on the new site is some generic info that is a mish-mosh of info that covers both the electronic Q-bot and the paper ticket Flash Pass.
Nothing is changing. (unless some of the 'ticket' parks switch to Lo-Q this season)
It's like my Sig, lol. Sure it's complaining, and sure Nintendo is dumb as a rock when it comes to online gaming, but perhaps in the future if they still are dumb as rock, I just might stop complaining and trade my Wii in for credit on XB360 or PS3 and really play online. *** Edited 3/22/2007 7:01:46 PM UTC by P18***