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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 2011 Clipper Card Updates from the MTC's Operations Committee

Three Generations of Transit Cards (TransLink Pilot, TransLink, and Clipper) Widescreen

The MTC's Operations Committee will be meeting this Friday, October 14th, and as usual, Clipper will be a well discussed topic for this de facto Clipper Board of Directors.

Here's the highlights from their agenda documents:

Last month's meeting minutes:
  • The committee has chosen the ferries to be next with the Clipper 'phase three' implementation.
  • The Clipper program's Title VI report was mentioned. While I won't get into all the dirty details on this blog entry (you can read about it here), the one thing I will mention is they will have public comment sometime during the Fall.

Updating the Transit Coordination Implementation Plan
A lot of the material is scratching out the old the name "TransLink" to its current name "Clipper."

The most useful information is the pass/ticket transition dates:
  • All AC Transit, Caltrain, and Golden Gate passes/tickets completed.
  • BART must complete transition of blue high value, red, and green tickets by December 31, 2011. BART's student orange ticket is up for debate as there is no current date of transition.
  • Muni has delayed transition of all Muni visitor passports until a usable substitute (e.g. Limited Use Ticket) can be used.
  • Samtrans will complete transition of all passes to Clipper on December 31, 2011.
  • VTA's monthly passes scheduled to transition on June 30, 2012 as long as VTA has a 'day pass accumulator' active by January 15, 2012.
Transfer changes:
  • Daly City BART's free Muni transfer scheduled to transition March 1, 2012.
  • Muni transfers scheduled to be Clipper only on June 30, 2013.

BART's Ticket Transition (More gritty info)
  • BART has closed many of their ticket retailers to prepare people for the Clipper transition at the end of the year. There are far fewer locations where the magnetic stripe tickets are sold and will be closed at the end of the year.
  • MTC and BART has done outreach and are giving away Clipper cards with $2 preloaded to encourage usage.
  • 1 out of 3 BART passengers currently pay for their rides with Clipper, and 40 percent of card users are enrolled in autoload.
  • Blue high value tickets will only be available through autoload with no intention to offer it for sale at vending machines and vendors. This causes a hardship for transit passengers that pays for tickets with commuter benefit paper vouchers; MTC claims offering it at vendors and vending machines is "cost-prohibitive and would result in slower Clipper transaction speeds at BART's fare gates." MTC is encouraging all employers to offer employees a debit card, or consider Clipper Direct which will offer HVDs starting Spring 2012.
  • $150,000 is proposed to be spent on an educational and advertisement campaign for BART's transition to Clipper.

Akit's Opinion
BART's transition is the most concerning to me.

For the Daly City station free Muni transfer going Clipper only, there's a big issue for SF State students who utilizes the free shuttle provided by SF State. If the paper transfer is eliminated, those who pays for BART with Clipper and takes the shuttle gets their free return ride on Muni's 28 line to BART voided because of the 1 hour policy to ride Muni to be eligible for the return ride back. Read more about this odd quirk.

I totally disagree with MTC's policy that all adult blue high value tickets (HVDs) on Clipper must be on autoload only. This does not meet the demands of the general public who are not comfortable with linking a credit card to their Clipper card (read why autoload is not recommended). People pay cash for their paper HVDs at retailers, so it's hard to believe that the MTC says it's "cost-prohibitive" and would slow down the BART gates if alternate methods are not going to be available. If youth and senior Clipper cardholders automatically gets the discount without the need to buy red and green tickets (with a high value), why can't us adults also get the automatic 6.25% discount we are entitled to? Or, why doesn't the station ticket machines offer adult HVDs to purchase?

Lastly, I hardly believe Muni will ever eliminate paper transfers. With no decent proof of payment enforcement, it's going to be free rides for everyone.

1 comment:

Mario said...


Proof of payment stubs don't have to also act as transfers. For example, they can be tied to a specific vehicle (via control of serial numbers) and would be considered invalid on another vehicle. A proof of payment inspector would board the vehicle and first ask the driver about the serial batch number before enforcing fares (or it could be given to them by dispatch). Or the POP stub can contain the line number, direction and boarding time and the POP inspector can verify that this is the same vehicle or it could simply have a much shorter expiration.

The alternative and preferred approach however is to have the driver dispense limited use Clipper tickets instead (with a surcharge to discourage use). Then transfers don't have to be eliminated.