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Friday, February 4, 2011

February's Clipper Card Updates: BART Ticket Machines & SFMTA Parking

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Operations Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, February 9th at 11AM and they will be talking about money being spent on the Clipper card program.

Facts and Updates You Should Know:
  • For the week ending January 21st, the "average weekday transaction volume was 355,750."
  • Muni is still sticking to their threat to end the paper "M" pass and be Clipper only starting with the April 2011 pass.
  • BART is now testing their ticketing vending machines. They expect it to be fully operational at all BART ticketing machines at the end of March 2011.
  • Golden Gate Ferry will be starting testing of Clipper card only ticketing machines this month. Not sure what this exactly means.

Money Being Spent:
The Operations Committee intends to spend $1.077 million on three items...
  1. $250,000 on a P.R. firm that is subcontracted by Swirl Marketing and Booz Allen Hamilton. This firm will be focusing on public relations work regarding the Muni transition from paper passes to Clipper, and educating youth, disabled and seniors.
  2. $250,000 to another P.R. firm subcontracted by the same contractors. This firm will be doing general public relations for BART, Caltrain, and VTA, and a secondary focus towards limited English proficiency, youth, seniors, and disabled.
  3. $577,000 for the SFMTA's pilot parking program. This funding is not from state taxpayers, but is a grant from the USDOT (the feds). The funding will help cover five city owned garages so payment can be made with a Clipper card, project management, testing, and training.

Akit's Opinion:
  • This meeting agenda doesn't have a lot of material to talk about. I usually expect I'd see some more insight on what the heck is going on with the boatload of Caltrain complaints, and upcoming big projects.
  • It's good to see the BART ticketing machines should be ready in less than two months. This means tons more locations for transit passengers to add Clipper value and it's instantly available for usage.
  • Does it really cost $500,000 to educate the public about the Clipper card program? Hell, I'm educating people on my blog for FREE. Pay me a decent salary with full benefits, and I'll be a one man wrecking P.R. crew.
  • As for paying parking garages with the blue card, not a bad idea. I wonder how they'll handle folks with commuter benefits who wants to park for leisure purposes.


susan said...

HI - I just got a notice from the transportation company that processes our flex spending transit - so they make us go to Clipper, now charge us? WTF?

Clipper will begin billing a $2.00 service administration charge for all Clipper Card orders beginning with the March 2011 benefit month. This charge will automatically be assessed to your March benefit order and will be charged monthly for every successful load of your Clipper Card.

Akit said...

I've been hearing rumors about this. I use Commuter Check and they've never tried to pull this stunt off. What flex company is doing this?

If possible, find out if they have a commuter benefit debit card. You go around this fee by using the card to purchase your Clipper media online or at a self-service machine.

Akit said...

Susan: My colleague from the SF Appeal found out more info:


susan said...

Thanks everyone... I called the company that administers our program & they said to call Clipper. I called clipper (first rep was very, very rude AND hung up on me!) then got a better rep, who basically told me I had to talk to my company. In looking at the clipper website, they seem to be offering their own program now, which could be why they want to charge us. I'm following up with my company, as this is wrong!