I received an e-mail tip from one of my blog readers mentioning he/she is having issues with his/her TransLink/Clipper card with regards to Muni's 3-day grace period and BART privileges as per Muni's "A" adult fast pass.
The person stated he/she has received automatic adding of his Muni "A" pass through Commuter Check and the commuter benefits company has informed the Clipper folks with ample time for the pass to be loaded on the card.
However, for the past few months since the person has had an "A" pass on his/her electronic farecard, and stated he/she has been experiencing issues during the first three days of each new month. Since Muni "A" fast pass users can use BART within San Francisco, the person argues when the new month arrives, his/her rides on BART are deducting from the e-cash purse, instead of utilizing the new monthly pass that was automatically added. The writer informed Clipper about this problem, but has yet to receive any appropriate answers to resolve the issue.
For example: Let us assume I have a June "A" pass, and my commuter benefits company automatically adds the July "A" pass to my Clipper card.
- When it is June 30th, I ride BART within San Francisco and no e-cash is deducted due to my June "A" pass.
- When it is July 1st, the new July "A" pass is supposed to cover me for free local BART rides, but instead, it is deducting $1.75 per ride.
- When it is July 4th, I am not charged e-cash for local BART rides because the July "A" pass is in effect.
My understanding of how Clipper operates is it must exactly mimic fare, pass, and transfer policies just like people who pay in cash, buy tickets, and/or utilize paper passes. If I always buy paper "A" passes, I know I'm supposed to use the new month's paper pass for BART during the first three days of the month, as the agency does not recognize Muni's 3-day grace period for the previous month's paper pass.
Last October, I wrote a blog entry explaining how the Muni pass expiration policy works:
- I am on reoccurring purchase of monthly Muni pass for Clipper.
- On June 30th, I'm still using my June Clipper e-pass.
- From July 1st to 3rd, tagging my card on a Muni reader still shows the June pass (expiration June 30th), but the system recognizes it as OK to ride due to the 3-day grace period.
- On July 4th, Clipper reader on Muni now says pass expires on July 31st.
I would like for you readers who have Muni "A" passes on your TransLink/Clipper card, automatic loading of the passes, and utilizes the free local BART access: please leave a comment on my blog if you have been experiencing similar problems like one of my readers did. You can remain anonymous on the comment board on Akit's Complaint Department's blog.
If a Clipper representative or public relations officer from the MTC or SFMTA is reading this, I would like to hear your official statement if there is an alleged "A" pass glitch problem or just a unique problem for one or just a few people. If it is true, what ways are Clipper and Cubic Transportation Systems going to resolve it and how can users get reimbursed for the e-cash purse deductions when they have a valid "A" pass for the new month?
Muni paper "A" passes must be Clipper only starting November 1, 2010 and if there is a serious glitch regarding BART access, this needs to be addressed and resolved quickly prior to the change. Would Clipper like to hassle with just a small handful of complaints or wait until the passes go full-blown electronic and receive thousands of phone calls and e-mails?