"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"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)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Promises Broken - Translink on BART

If you are sick of BART taking their sweet time getting Translink on their system, join the angry mob of people who hates getting their BART tickets demagnetized, and wants an easy solution to paying for their fares without hassling with ticketing machines. SF Appeal's Eve Batey has been helping to put on the pressure to BART and my blog as well.

Why isn't BART keeping their promise to start in "early summer?"

Their press release statement on May 8, 2009 from MTC's John Goodwin and BART's Linton Johnson clearly states: "BART expects that TransLink will be accepted on the system early in the summer" (1st paragraph, last sentence).

Now let's progress to June 17, 2009, SF Appeal editor Eve Batey asked a few questions to Linton Johnson about the progress of Translink on BART and got a rude answer from BART's PR guy Linton Johnson: "...we are not going to make a big deal about the fact that anyone can use it. In fact, we aren't really giving out the time and date to anyone about when our soft launch will be. The only people who will know are our preselected EZ Rider users" (paragraph 10). Eve Batey also learned that Translink may not start-up on BART until "June 2010."

(In my own opinion, Linton is a JACKASS)

To make things more interesting, Eve Batey did a follow-up story on July 1st where she asked anyone who rides BART and carries a Translink card to continuously test the card every single day until the damn card readers accept it. As expected, it didn't work, and BART violated their promise to start allowing people to test the program in "early summer" (this is already mid-summer).

I also found out today on the BARTrage forums in a section titled "So f-ing sick of demagnitized tix!!!" (just posted recently) that a station agent by username "commonsense" stated: "BART came out and trained ALL the agents over a 3 week period on Translink as if it was coming out immediately. We have some of the equipment in the booth and we have been trained on it. Now were are told it will be out by the end of the year... MAYBE! Gotta love it!"

I guess with BART, promises are a bunch of bullshit. I have strong ethical convictions, and if I make a promise to someone, I keep that promise; if I am unable to keep that promise, I make a formal apology. BART on the other hand can make promises, but doesn't publicly apologize when they have to delay Translink once again.

There's a reason why people don't trust our public transit agencies, they don't hold-up their end of their bargain.


For your information:

As you may know, once BART activates the gates, any person with a Translink card can use it regardless if they have registered with BART to participate. It's the same concept as SFMTA/Muni where they maintain a list of registered people testing the program, but allows people who use their card for AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit/Ferry to use it. (AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit/Ferry are using Translink full-time and not "testing" anymore)

Doesn't BART know... if people use Translink, it will save BART tons of money by wasting less plastic on their magnetic striped cards (some say BART throws away 600 pounds a DAY), and less maintenance is needed to maintain the ticket machines and fare boxes since Translink RFID requires no moving parts (i.e. getting your ticket or money jammed in a machine).

BART has a HUGE deficit, if they used their brains a little bit more, Translink is the perfect solution to saving MILLIONS. If you have trained the station agents, that's enough to say, "let's turn on the switch."


Erik said...

I'm confused. Where did someone actually promise that it would be turned on by any particular date.

IMO, "BART expects that..." isn't any kind of a promise. That's more like the kind of language you would use if you had no idea when it would happen.

Empowered Follower said...

I suspect that someone's getting a kickback on all those BART tickets that get printed and tossed everyday.