We are just a couple of days until TransLink will officially turn into the Clipper card (Wednesday, June 16th). Last week Friday, I was called by a TL/Clipper rep and invited to their press conference, but I'm not sure if my boss will give me the time off needed to be there for the historic moment (fingers crossed!).
Let's get onto some new changes in preparation for the big transition:
The automated add value machines now have updated software on their screen. It's not a huge update, but you'll notice the new blue Clipper graphic and all words saying "TransLink" is now "Clipper." I've produced a video for you to demonstrate how the add value machine works when using cash (bills) to be converted into e-cash for the card.
Adding e-cash is quick when you feed the machine cash, and the funds are available instantly for use.
While waiting for the train at the stations, I've noticed a lot of the metro card readers with all three color lights active, and it was when I rode the train late at night on Saturday after taking photos of the Giants County Fair, that I noticed the software change in the broken reader screen (see photos below).
The reader now says: "Out of Service"
Their official response of the April 16th incident in a presentation at a MTC meeting: "The DesFire software release on April 16th caused many on-board CID1s to power down after reboot."
Their official response of the April 16th incident on TL's Facebook page: "Translink apologies for any problems cause by a large number of card readers being out of service last weekend. You may have noticed this if you rode the bus or Muni metro. The problem occurred due to a bug in new software being rolled out to the readers; the problem should now be fixed."
So the software update fails again. Haven't they ever heard of testing the software PRIOR to updating the card reader devices, and if there are going to be problems, have people on-site ready to resolve it before the public even senses there is an issue?
What happens when the Clipper card goes full blown mainstream and there's a software update glitch/problem? The answer is simple, transit agencies will lose thousands of dollars in fare revenue.
The next TransLink/Clipper management meeting is Monday, June 28th, and I'm going to bet the board members are going to shake their fists at the contractor. Why you ask? The board members are the big bosses for the transit agencies they represent, like Nat Ford for Muni, and Michael Burns for VTA.
Lastly, here's a random thought, since TransLink cards can still be used when Clipper becomes official, I'd bet the drivers, station agents, and other folks will get tired of saying things like:
"Can I see your TransLink or Clipper card?"
Maybe instead of two separate names for the same purpose, maybe us locals should combine the two brand names into the nickname "Tripper" or "Tipper."