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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clipper (Cubic) Hits a New Low - Exposing E-Mail Addresses

Muni New Faregates - Civic Center Station Secondary Gates (Edited)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a party foul. In the news today, Clipper and the MTC are apologizing for releasing the e-mail addresses of over 1,700 card users. This happened when an e-mail was sent to customers whose credit card registered with autoload was going to expire. The employee whom works for Cubic (MTC's contractor for Clipper) sent the mass e-mail to those applicable customers, but forgot to place the contacts in the BCC (blind carbon copy) address list, therefore a ton of people got it.

But that doesn't end there, people outraged about it also hit the "reply to all" button on their e-mail service to let out a rant, but to also annoy those who became victims and didn't want any part of this mess.

You can review these news sources: SFGate/Chronicle and Muni Diaries.

Akit's Opinion
Clipper is hitting new lows, and this one is another kick to the nuts.

I don't get it, why doesn't Clipper/Cubic use automatic e-mail notifications for this? Why does an employee need to dig-up the e-mails, copy and paste it (in this case, incorrectly), and send off a mass message like this? Shouldn't the website automatically know when a credit card is about to expire and automatically shoot-off an e-mail?

Automation for Clipper has been slow at times, they used to manually e-mail reports when people requested it, then was able to automate it by having users log into the website and just clicking on a couple of links to instantly view the report.

Some are saying "yeah yeah, at least it wasn't as bad as the MyBART incident." But if you are a victim getting all that junk anger mail from other Clipper card users who hit the "reply to all" button, you'd be pissed too.

Clipper really needs to clean-up their reputation. There's a lot of positive stuff that shines good on the agency, but there's a lot of things that really doesn't make a lot of sense. Other than not automating e-mails, they also haven't done the following to fix or improve:
  • Allowing all BART ticket machines to sell all e-passes and e-ridebooks for all agencies, other than just letting people load e-cash only. If you are at Daly City BART where Muni and Samtrans also stops at, wouldn't you want a place to buy your bus passes?
  • Installing Clipper add value machines at more than just a few Caltrain stations (which are not yet operational).
  • Finding other ways for people to fix autoload problems causing the card to be blocked, whether it be going to an automated machine or the in-person customer service centers to resolve it.
  • Finding decent methods to stop people from exploiting the negative balance feature.
  • Toning down Clipper's trademark beep sound. You can sometimes hear it a block away, on a noisy street!
  • Why does youth who ride AC Transit need a Clipper card with their photo so they can be eligible to buy a youth pass? All the other agencies doesn't require a photo Clipper card to obtain a youth pass. When a youth passenger loses their specialized card from AC Transit, they have a bigger hassle than those with a uniform policy of no photo.
  • BART passengers who wants to pay for their parking without obtaining a special EZrider hangtag by just tagging their card and punching in their parking stall number.
  • BART doesn't like the idea of adult passengers being able to buy HVDs at their ticketing machines or a vendor, everyone must use autoload (which many hates to use).
  • Caltrain's stupid policies on 8-rides and monthly passes on Clipper.
  • Want to add one to this list? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty odd they do not have the software in place to do this for them. One wonders what an independent audit would find where the money went (or rather, where it did not go).

Agree on Caltrain. The add/value machines at 4th & King have been there a month and still not hooked up. Big yellow caution tape around them. The pigeons probably use it as another place to hang out!