"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
(Kevin)
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!"
(Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..."
(Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job."
(Brock Keeling, SFist)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Translink and SF Muni listens to Akit's blog


There's an odd feeling in the air today. No, it's not the rain, and it's not those steroid pumped Tour of California bicyclists; I'm talking about Translink and SFMTA/Muni.

It looks like they are taking the time to read my recent postings about Translink and taking action on some missing documents and some simple requests. Just recently, the first survey to trial cardholders was released after mentioning it in this posting.

But more importantly is the Translink and Muni people are really getting into the groove of public relations (I guess they want the trial program to run successfully). Due to a posting on my blog demanding Translink and Muni to provide a letter that confirm trial users' participation when they have an existing card, I mentioned that the letter can provide additional support and protection when confronting a hostile (or sometimes stupid) Muni employee. SFMTA and Translink released a PDF copy of the letter online on the Translink website.

Read the letter from Executive Director Nat Ford here (PDF file). You can also read the text of the letter near the bottom of this blog posting.

They have also attached some additional documents to the Translink website about Muni. The documents was provided to trial users via snail mail who received a new card, but was not provided to existing cardholders who simply registered online. Muni and Translink corrected these errors and also posted it online:
  • They provided a print-out copy of their "pocket guide" on how to use the green colored card on Muni vehicles.
  • There is a "Tag 2 Win" contest where registered (Muni) cardholders who use their Translink card on any Muni vehicle, will be entered in a drawing for free prizes including an iPod, gift cards, cameras, and others. Even more interesting, the more you tag your card, the more entries into the drawing. So "tag" your card like a crazy person. $1.50 fare for a free gift? Just go nuts until that transfer expires.
Read Muni's "pocket guide" on Translink here (PDF file).
Read Muni's "Tag 2 Win" contest rules here (PDF file).

How interesting... Translink and Muni officials do read my blog after all. You see, even the little guys (the average citizen) can make a major transit agency and program change their ways.

If you want see the place where the documents are posted, please visit: http://www.translink.org/TranslinkWeb/muni/index.do

(Photo is from Translink website)

----------

Below is the text from the letter from Nat Ford:
Dear Valued Muni Customer:

We appreciate your participation in the Muni TransLink® trial group.

In this packet you will find a free TransLink card, a brochure on how to use your card, a pocket guide to using TransLink on Muni and information about how you can win prizes just by tagging your TransLink card on Muni.

As a participant in the trial group, your card is already registered under your name; however, you must call the TransLink Customer Service Center at 877-878-8883 to set up your “My TransLink” account. Your “My TransLink” account allows you to manage your account, protect your card balance, add value to your card and set up Autoload to automatically reload fare value on your card.

You can also use your TransLink card to pay for fares on AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit and Ferry by adding electronic fare value (e-cash) or corresponding transit agency passes to your card. Please note: TransLink is available on all Muni buses, light rail trains and historic streetcars. TransLink is not yet available on cable cars, Caltrain or BART (including inside Metro stations).

We thank you for agreeing to periodically complete surveys about your experience using TransLink throughout the trial phase. As a measure of our appreciation for your time and feedback, Muni will be offering additional incentives for completing and submitting your survey forms.

Again, thank you for your participation. The feedback that you provide is essential to TransLink’s success on Muni. Together, we can make using Bay Area transit more convenient.

Sincerely, Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr.,
Executive Director/CEO
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

4 comments:

dan said...

Oh, cool. They're also including that letter with the card now -- I got both last week.

Anonymous said...

They included the letter and all the other pdfs with the new card user packets ( my friend got one), the existing card users didn't have one so that's probably why they posted it. I was an existing card user and now it's a lot more clear...

Sean said...

Pro / Con (for the occasional rider):

Pro:
1) no need to carry quarters! which means no need to go into shops to do the quarter beg; and no need to pay 2 bucks to ride when you can't find quarters

2) can pay with pre-tax money using commuter checks to fund the card.

3) geek factor -- more fun to use than cash

Con:
1) actually need to carry quarters! if the reader doesn't work then I have to pay with cash. And if you don't have quarters you'll be paying 2 bucks for your muni ride.

2) transferring from a muni with functional reader to one with a broken reader means I have to pay twice! You don't get a paper transfer when you 'pay' with a translink, so you have no proof that you've got a transfer. And when the reader doesn't work you have to pay with cash.

3) transfer time starts when I tag; when I pay with cash I typically get a much larger transfer time than 90min -- the best is getting a "Late Night Transfer" early.

murphstahoe said...

Speaking of commuter checks... check this out!

They nearly doubled the max on pre-tax commuter benefits!