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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Akit's Coverage of the Clipper Card Debut

Transition from Paper Pass to Farecard
Today is the debut of the Clipper card, and their launch event (press conference) was at Hyde Street Pier at 11AM. Akit's Complaint Department was invited to attend this event in the presence of some big names in the Bay Area transit society. It was interesting to meet many representatives, mostly from the MTC and Swirl Marketing, and many just walked-up to me and said, "you must be Akit."

Let's talk about the new card!
New Clipper Card and Carrying Case
The Clipper card does not include the classic gold chip that we TransLink users are used to. Anyway, the gold chip is not needed as the agency has converted the system to be completely contactless. There was a demonstration of the card with a card reader unit and it scans the card efficiently and quickly; in comparison with the TransLink card, you may notice a slight difference in the response of the reader, with the Clipper card being quicker.

The Clipper card also looks and feels different than their predecessors, it has a glossy feel, and can scratch easily, but hey, as long as it works, I'm not that worried.

For this press conference event, guests have been provided a very durable plastic card holder case, and while thick, it really protects the card from damage. It also has a place to attach a lanyard.

How to Get a Card
Starting today, you can get your card free through retailers, clippercard.com, calling Clipper directly: (877) 878-8883, or by visiting a participating transit agency's ticketing office. The fact sheet provided by Clipper says: "Customers are limited to two free cards per person. Customers who want more than two cards should be referred to the Customer Service Center."

The Guest Speakers
Celia Kupersmith, GM Golden Gate Transportation District Adrienne Tissier, MTC Vice Chair Marcia deVaughn, Deputy GM of BART Nat Ford, CEO SFMTA Scott Haggerty, MTC Chair
(Move cursor over photo for their name and position title)

While all of them gave their speeches, there is some good news from some of the transit agencies:
  • BART is in process of having their ticketing machines be able to add value to the Clipper cards, and this will mean there will be tons more places to add funds and passes.
  • Samtrans will be "revenue ready" in the summer, but won't be available for the public until the Fall. They are in the process of installing the readers on their brand new fleet of buses.
Here's new information from the Clipper "fact sheet" I was provided, and how it will affect you in the near future:
As I mentioned earlier, Clipper cards are FREE at all retail, ticketing agency offices, their website, and calling customer service.

Within the next few months, Muni's new fare gates will be installed at all metro stations.
  1. The fare gates will not accept cash.
  2. They will have a temporary magnetic card swipe for paper pass users.
  3. The new pre-paid ticketing machines will accept both cash and credit, reload Clipper cards, and will sell Clipper cards.
  4. The big shocker: The vending machines will issue paper temporary Clipper cards for those who need it for single trips and round trips for a 25 cent surcharge; but, the paper card can be reloaded as needed for up to 90 days.
Muni will be transitioning their paper passes to Clipper. Here's when it will happen:
  • Muni's disabled stickers: Fall 2010
  • "A" pass: Fall 2010
  • Youth and senior passes: Early 2011
  • "M" pass: Spring 2011
For you "M" passholders, you can breathe a sigh of relief, for a few more months beyond the planned November date for adult paper passes (as per Muni Diaries).

For now, SF Cable Cars will only accept Clipper cards with the appropriate monthly pass. The fact sheet does not tell when e-cash will be accepted.

Here's more photos from the press conference:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Akit, I think Clippercard has been out to use prematurely before some of the annoying glitches have been cleared out. One of these troubles hit me yesterday and today and cost me not just delay in my commute to work but a lot of annoyance and cash.
I started to use the card more than a week before and I have loaded monthly muni pass and the discounted BARt autoload. The BART autoload,which I loaded after a few days of regular e cash for BART, started to work prfectly for a few days and suddenly refused yesterday(06/30/2010) on boarding the BART and after a long wait in the station and calling customer service I was told there is an extra cash in the card remaining from previous loads which was too small( ? for what?) and I have to reload more even though I have more than 50$ unused for the discouted BART rate and a monthly MUNI pass loaded more than a week before. Confusing and annoying and could cost me my job so I quickly reloaded but today(07/01/2010). The clippercard actually denied(as checked by a local BART station agent at San Leandro) I have any money more than 0.60 cents active on the card. I just don't understand and I believe it shouldn have stopped once it started deducting from the total 64$ I loaded for the discounted BARt fare. I am very disappointed and am filing complaints all over the web I know it may be seen.