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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clipper Card Readers Beeping Too Loud?

Now that everyone is used to using their Clipper card to ride public transportation, one annoying issue I've been noticing more often since I moved to the Inner Sunset where public transit options are more available to me, is how loud the card readers are.

For those who tags their card on the Clipper card readers (except those at BART and Muni metro stations), that little card reader can sure screech a loud sound to confirm your proper card tag.  Depending on other background sounds being generated, I can typically hear a card reader beep from a Muni bus a half a block away (roughly 500 feet) or even a block from the bus stop.

Back when the TransLink program was in their pilot program (nearly a decade ago), the card readers didn't make the loud beep, it was a lot more quieter and a lower tone ("boop!").  Worked fine for those tagging their cards and even the error tone sounded more like a buzzer than a screeching three rapid beeps.

It is truly necessary for today's Clipper card readers to be so loud that it can be heard from a decent distance?  That sound should only be loud enough for the passenger to confirm the card has been tagged.  There are no safety reasons that warrants the use of a loud Clipper card beep (e.g. buses with kneeling features must make a loud beep when kneeling and raising).  I believe the tone much quieter so it isn't as bothersome and annoying.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Leave a comment.

8 comments:

el tejano said...

Yeah, I agree. I live near a stop for the 1 and the 44 and can hear them from my top floor apartment about 1/4-1/2 block away. There's no reason for them to be that loud.

Anonymous said...

beeps need to be loud enough that the driver can hear those tagging on at the back of the bus

Akit said...

Anonymous: The rear door reader doesn't have to be that loud either. People can still walk-in with a paper transfer through the rear door.

Anonymous said...

The driver's console at the front of the bus beeps whenever a card is tagged anyway, and is at a much more reasonable volume.

Anonymous said...


I have often wished the sound were sweeter, as well as softer. Perhaps a chime.

Tony C. said...

Why not let people who register their card online have the option of signing their card up to beep at the currently loud volume, if they have hearing issues or for any other reason. Let those who do not want or need a loud beep to have a quieter one come standard?

Bruce said...

I live right along the 22-Fillmore and can often hear people tagging their Clipper cards from either of two stops, one of which is nearly a full block away.

On the other hand, I visited Seattle last year and was surprised to find that King County Metro buses have the same exact smart card readers installed for transit passes - only they beep at about 1/3 the volume of Muni buses (and seem to be a touch faster too).

Joel Penner said...

I think they are way too loud. Combine that with the fact that if you run out of money everyone within a mile radias knows about it, nice and embarrassing