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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Translink Card program updates from the MTC management

Yesterday, Translink released their report to their management group/board members consisting of representatives of the local Bay Area transit agencies.

Instead of making you read all the crazy numbers and such, I'm going to highlight some of the new updates about the program and some new items of interest for you cardholders:
  1. There has been a major increase in the use of the Translink cards and the average weekday patronage is now 37,000 (per day). This increase is credited due to the addition of BART, Caltrain, and the local schools and colleges reopening for the Fall semester.
  2. There is a proposal to change the current Translink RFID cards from ones with the contactless card with the contact chip, to be solely contactless (basically, no more shoving it in a slot to add funds).
  3. Golden Gate Ferry is in the lead with 70.05% of their weekday commuters paying with their Translink card, primarily because they have forced their commuter discount book users to convert. Many other participating agencies are less than 5%, except Golden Gate Transit with 26%.
  4. SamTrans has tenatively scheduled installation of Translink equipment for September 28th, 2009.
  5. SamTrans is having new buses built and has worked out a deal to have the buses all wired-up so installation can be faster and easier.
  6. VTA is planning to install Translink equipment in October.
  7. BART ticket machines will be able to do Translink transactions starting in mid 2010.
  8. Golden Gate Ferry may consider buying automated ticketing machines similar to Muni's planned purchase of gates and machines that accepts Translink only.
  9. VTA and Caltrain is in the bidding process for having their ticketing machines upgraded to do Translink transactions.
  10. SF City owned parking lots are considering to introduce Translink cards as payment and the pilot program will start no later than December 31, 2010.
This is good progress for Translink, but there will be no significant changes or major announcements in the near future; unlike what we have seen in the last three months with the addition of BART and Caltrain, and the demonstration of the new SFMTA/Muni metro gates.

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