The Clipper card is continuing to get punched in the chest and kicked in the shin by the media; plus, the commentators on places like SF Gate are really giving it a heyday, just like today's article.
I don't mind doing some unofficial PR work to help resolve the issues people write about on the comment boards, yet, it's getting really overwhelming with the complaints after complaints about this and that, and not really taking the time to understand the limits and benefits of the program. It always makes me wonder if they really own a card, or just how little they've ever used it.
As one person told me, a lot of those commentators are just idiots. I prefer to think of many SFgate commentators to be writing comments out of their butt instead of thinking about it first from their head.
So why do I help out the Clipper folks? It's because I have a passion for this program to be successful. A lot of you readers know how much material I write about the program, including upcoming changes, major glitches and problems, and how to make it easier to use. I could use some extra money, why not hire me as some kind of consultant or PR person on the streets on select weekends?
Do I write too much about the program? Eve Batey, one of my big supporters and editor of SF Appeal wrote back to me and she said:
"If you start getting sick of covering TransLink, then yes, you are writing about it too much. Until then, no way -- you are, as you noted, the only one out there who is. The world needs you!"
Ya know, the most interesting thing is all this bad press is actually good for Clipper. All transit agencies that uses RFID fare cards went through the same problems we are experiencing right now. The current topic is the growing pains, and in months time, there will be an improvement or a solution to fix the problems that keeps nagging at everyone. Not long ago, Clipper was able to automate the history report process to view it instantly because many argued it took days to get an e-mailed report. If people will wait a few more months, the new ticketing machines at Muni metro stations will be working and will be able to quickly top-off cards, and in less than a year, all BART ticketing machines will also be able to top-off too.
Here's some good old fashioned advice (and I'm going to be blunt):
- For those who continue to moan that Clipper sucks or this or that doesn't work, take a moment to read the material provided to all new users in the envelope (if you don't have it, the same ones are online). The brochure gives the basic information on how to use the card, and the website has specific ones for each agency. If the information is not helpful, just ask Clipper on Twitter, Facebook, or ask me. My blog is here to educate and inform; I don't like stupid people destroying a program that has good intentions for the community.
- As one of my professors once said, "incompetence of the law is not an excuse." So is the same for Clipper as incompetence is not a free pass to bitch and moan.
- Lastly, HOLD THE CARD STEADY. Don't swipe it. Want to be humiliated with the three annoying beeps? Just do the opposite of what I just told you.