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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Caltrain Conductor Clipper Card Readers Will be Able to Deduct Fares

Clipper on Caltrain... it's way out of control.  I've mentioned in the past of my proposal to kill 8-rides, in favor of giving all passengers an equivalent 15% fare discount to all Clipper users by simply paying with e-cash stored on their card.  If Golden Gate Transit and Ferry can eliminate paper discount ticket books and give the same discount by using their Clipper card with e-cash, so can Caltrain.

Frustrations with Caltrain
For you Caltrain passengers, ever had that frustration with a broken card reader or you just forgot to scan your card?  I know that some of you have been issued a fare evasion citation and you've had to face a court hearing, and that can be really annoying.  That's because the Caltrain conductor's portable Clipper card reader can only read cards, and cannot deduct fares or activate passes/8-rides.

Our friends at the defacto Clipper card Board of Directors (MTC's Operations Committee) is about to make Caltrain passengers just a little more happy.  They plan to meet on Friday, June 14th (agenda) to approve a bunch of contract actions costing a ton of cash, but the one for Caltrain is the most exciting.

Ooooh, ahhhh!
On the first page of agenda item 4c (PDF), the Board intends to spend up to $575,000 on new portable Clipper card readers for Caltrain.  These new card readers for conductors and fare inspectors will also have the ability to deduct fare from a customer who forgot to tag their card in the morning.  The document also mentions that the new devices could also be used for those passengers with disabilities who are unable to reach a platform Clipper card reader as they are not always easily accessible.

Akit's Opinions
So if the MTC approves this expense and Caltrain gets these new devices, will that mean the number of fare evasion citations will go down for those with Clipper cards?  I think it's a great idea to help passengers, instead of kicking them off trains, or writing an expensive citation and being forced to visit a Superior Court judge.

I'm hoping passengers will still tag their card at the station platform card readers, instead of making the conductor do it, or riders take a risk for a free ride by not tagging the card and hoping the conductor doesn't do a sweep.  But even if the conductor does a sweep, the fare would be deducted.

There is the possibility that someday Caltrain may charge a higher fare for those whose Caltrain fares are deducted from the conductor's reader in order to discourage cheaters.  The Long Island Railroad does this to their passengers who pays the conductor, instead of a station's ticketing machine.


Anonymous said...

You used to be able to pay fares aboard Caltrain. Then they did away with that requiring everyone have a ticket upon boarding. Now we seem to be sliding back, if it is just a little so someone who forgets to tag can do so.

Perhaps they will bring the old club car back. In the old days, you get a bite to eat on the way up or down the peninsula.

Anonymous said...

I've lost my original Caltrain citation. Can you tell me who to contact to obtain a duplicate citation? I've called the Caltrain customer service number and they told me that they can't help me. They told me I had to call the local police department for the municipality I was in when I was given the citation. I can't remember exactly where I was. I would very much appreciate any help you can give me.
Thank you -

Anonymous said...

I get my ticket checked an average of 1 in 4 trips. What motivation would a rider have to use their card on the platform when it would cost 1/4 of the fare by getting the conductor to deduct the card unless it were 4x the maximum possible fare ($50)? And how many people are going to keep that much on their clipper card?