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Thursday, February 18, 2010

TransLink (Clipper) Meeting Updates - Kicking Into High Gear

After a long hiatus since December, the TransLink management board will be meeting on Monday, February 22nd to discuss updates on the program, especially with the big Clipper transition.

Here's information you should know:
  1. The contractor who basically runs the TL program has drastically improved the response time for history reports (still sent via e-mail) and sending out replacement cards.
  2. The contractor is progressing in the transition for contactless cards (no contact chip with RFID technology).
  3. Installation of TL equipment on VTA buses is in progress. Light rail installation will start on March 1st.
  4. There is a delay in testing of Samtrans equipment.
  5. In January, Golden Gate Ferry accounts for over 50% of all TL transactions, in last place is Muni with 1.5%.
  6. Samtrans should be "revenue ready" by April 15, 2010.
  7. VTA should be "revenue ready" by May 11, 2010.
  8. TL device memory upgrades are completed on Muni; AC Transit is next, followed by Golden Gate.
  9. Due to the transition to contactless cards, the new generation of cars will be made by a company called DESFire. Testing is in progress and new cards will be produced soon.
  10. BART won't have their ticketing machines doing TransLink add funds transactions until 2011.
  11. There is no set date of when the new DESFire cards and equipment will be upgraded on all machines with card feeding slots (e.g. automated add value machines and in-person vendor add value terminals).
  12. Starting on July 1st (the new fiscal year), MTC will take a different role in TransLink/Clipper.

It looks like everything is going as planned with installation on the next two systems (Samtrans and VTA) and the transition of TransLink to Clipper. I'm disappointed that BART ticketing machines won't be ready this year to add TL/Clipper value like passes and e-cash, and those machines will play a serious role in the success of the program.

It is important to know that with the transition to DESFire contactless cards (which should be the new Clipper cards), it will be impossible for TL/Clipper to distribute the new cards to people until all their existing slot loading equipment is upgraded. This means upgrading all the add value machines (automated and vendor locations) with special proximity card sensors that updates information.

A successful transition from TL to Clipper and meeting their goal of "mid 2010" is a big challenge. If we consider "mid 2010" to be no later than late August, they have about six months to make this conversion with the hundreds of vehicles needing the new logo, mass distribution of new Clipper cards, telephone staff handling the transition of TL accounts to new Clipper cards, and upgrading all existing add value equipment.

Their next meeting is scheduled for April 17th. They've been having monthly meetings, so why skip March?


JC said...

Not a comment but a question. If I have a TL card, will this change to Clipper require me to get a new one?

Akit said...

It's in my opinion that TL will mail out replacement Clipper cards.

They mailed out replacement cards several years ago when they switched the "pilot" cards to the green TL cards.