The news wire is hot about a claim that Muni will eliminate all paper passes for adults starting this October. Muni Diaries first reported this story, and it spread like wildfire to other news venues like SFist, SF Appeal, SFGate's "The Scavenger," and Mission Mission.
To some, it's a shock to see their colorful paper Muni passes going away, while others moan and groan about how TransLink somehow sucks or experiences problems. I'm trying to help cool down the fire in the comment boards by telling them of future improvements with the new Clipper cards, updates from board meetings of various agencies, and tips on how to make it a better experience.
One serious concern nobody has mentioned is if Muni does follow through with their threat to drop paper passes in favor of Clipper cards, are the retailers who currently sell paper media going to take this lightly if they might lose their regular customers?
In my opinion, I believe this will hurt local businesses who sell the paper adult Muni passes. Say for example, each establishment doesn't make any money for selling the passes, but they sell them so the patrons will likely purchase other items.
Here's a great example of why vendors would sell Muni passes:
- The SFSU student center sells them (including BART tickets) in a venue where just steps away are two convenience marts, bookstore, and various food vendors. If someone was to purchase their pass there, it is possible the patron may get some coffee or a meal before going to class or home.
Will Muni ask the TransLink/Clipper folks to install more add value machines at the existing retail locations so patrons can buy passes and add e-cash funds without trying to find a Walgreens or an add value machine at a major transit station?
I think we need more ticketing retail outlets to sell TransLink/Clipper media, including the e-Muni monthly passes. Not every person wants to order it online or by phone; they prefer that in-person experience. I believe existing Muni pass retailers will demand a proper alternative to maintain their customer base.