New gas cards a mixed bag for users
September 11, 2008
The new fuel ration cards have left some people longing for a return to the gas coupons, but others say the new system is easier to use.
The card is being phased in gradually around Germany as a replacement for the ration coupons because of problems, which have included a variety of abuses. But like many new systems, the gas card had some computer glitches when it was first rolled out earlier this summer.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason David, an American Forces Network producer, said he hasn’t seen any glitches with the card since he got it early last week. He used the card at Vogelweh on Friday.
"They made it pretty easy," David said about the card. "It’s easier because you don’t have to fill anything out (like the fuel ration coupons). It’s good. It’s very practical."
David said it took him 45 minutes to complete the process to get a card.
"I think it’s all right," said Army Spc. Andre Lemos, assigned to the 5th Military Police Battalion at Kleber Kaserne. "It’s a good idea. It’s easier to use."
Lemos also used the card Friday at Vogelweh. He said he was apprehensive about switching to the card, but so far it has worked fine.
Karen Jordan said the card was new to her and her husband, Heidelberg-based Army Col. Richard Jordan. They used the coupons when the colonel was based in Germany a few years ago.
"I didn’t have any problems with it," Jordan said of the card.
Master Sgt. David Larson doesn’t have his card yet, but unlike other soldiers, he said he isn’t worried about the change.
"I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be able to go online and put the money in. I think it will be convenient," Larson said.
But not everyone likes the change.
"I think it’s a pain. The process takes too long," Army spouse Shannon Shirkey said. "I hate it. I miss the coupons."
Shirkey said the coupons were easier to use on base because the user only had to show the vehicle registration to the attendant and pay. A card user has to show it to the attendant and type in his secret code. If the attendant isn’t around the card user has to get in line at the shoppette to pay.
"Now there is an inconvenience for the soldier," said Jeff Morrison, a civilian worker and retired soldier in Baumholder.
"The coupons were easier," he said. "You always knew how many liters you had. It was right there in your hand."