"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)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Serious Flaw for Translink Card Users with Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits

NOTE: Before reading this posting, please be aware that a representative of Translink gave me incorrect information, the official response from the Translink manager is posted here.

I use Commuter Check to automatically add e-cash funds to my Translink card account every month on a recurring cycle. I tagged my card on four buses on August 1st with the belief my funds would be loaded, that wasn't the case.

I soon realized after calling the Translink office that they admitted...

July 31st landed on a Friday, which meant the soonest an update to my account would be about 72 hours and is past the start of the new month.

How many people who use pre-tax commuter benefits are affected by this policy?


Pull out your electronic calendar and take a look at the vulnerable months the "last Friday" policy will affect passengers (when also factoring in the 72 hour rule):
  • November 2009 (October 30th is a Friday)
  • February 2010 (January 29th is a Friday)
  • March 2010 (February 26th is a Friday)
  • May 2010 (definitely because April 30th lands on a Friday)
  • August 2010 (July 30th lands on a Friday)
  • November 2010 (October 29th is a Friday)
  • January 2011 (definitely because December 31st lands on a Friday)

While I depend on electronic cash to be loaded, how about those people who rely on monthly Muni passes and get them automatically loaded through Commuter Check every month? Basically, for those who are supposed to get an August fast pass via Commuter Check won't get it in time and may unknowingly pay e-cash from their Translink account until 72 hours after FRIDAY THE 31ST?

I've already changed my Commuter Check benefits from e-cash to an adult fast pass starting September 1st. WHAT GUARANTEE DO I HAVE FROM TRANSLINK THAT MY FIRST TAG OF THE CARD ON THE 1ST OF SEPTEMBER WILL REFLECT A PASS?

Translink should fix their policy immediately. I suggest updating people's accounts immediately once they get the information from commuter benefits companies around the 15th of every month so there are no hiccups like what happened THIS MONTH.

(How do I know it's around the 15th of every month? Commuter Check e-mails me when the order has been executed.)


Anonymous said...

Maybe we should abandon Motorola's ERG and move to something like Sony's FeLiCa.

Akit said...

Motorola ERG was purchased by Cubic, and since the track record with Cubic for other agencies in the nation has gone quite well, it may be a brighter sign for Translink.

One item of fact: With BART's acceptance in Translink, BART uses Cubic technology and Translink is ERG.