Monday, June 07, 2010

Translink being rebranded to Clipper

Translink is being rebranded to Clipper, which will be formally "introduced" to the public on June 16.

Old Translink branded reader for Caltrain. This reader should've been rebranded by now.


New Clipper branded reader for light rail, but not activated yet.

When VTA comes on line with Clipper, whoever's in charge needs to distinguish which reader belongs to which system at inter-modal transfer points. Other than being located on the VTA platform, there's no difference in appearance between the reader for VTA and Caltrain. Perhaps someone in a hurry, or don't know the station well, would tap his or her Translink/Clipper card at the wrong reader, which would result in overcharge (when a VTA rider mistakenly tap on the Caltrain rider) and/or citation.

13 comments:

Peter said...

And how much is this "rebranding" costing us? Bay Area transit is not exactly made of money...

arcady said...

The Translink readers do give some hint of what they're for: the Caltrain one says something like "tap your card" while the VTA ones will say "Adult Fare $2.00", but that's only obvious if you've studied the system for a while.

Is there any word on when VTA and SamTrans will actually officially allow the use of Translink/Clipper?

accountablevta said...

The whole rebranding costs nearly a million. About half of it goes to new logo design and rebranding, and the other half goes to new marketing pieces.

By the way, if you have to tell the difference by having the read the screen, it is too late. People in a hurry wouldn't know that they made a mistake until it is too late.

MikeOnBike said...

Here's what I'd like Clipper to do:

1. Every member of my family has a Clipper card.

2. Clipper knows everybody's birthdate.

3. Clipper automatically charges the correct child/adult/senior fare for that transit agency. (Every agency seems to have different age ranges.)

4. All my family's Clipper cards are tied to one balance. When the balance is low, it automatically reloads once from my credit card. (Rather than five cards with five balances being reloaded five times at $45 a pop.)

Does Clipper do any of those things?

arcady said...

Clipper doesn't do any of those things. In fact, it's missing basic functionality, which will make the mandatory use of Clipper on Caltrain a downgrade in convenience and a fare increase for some.

accountablevta said...

MTC has hired a consultant to study the social justice impact of mandatory Translink/Clipper http://apps.mtc.ca.gov/meeting_packet_documents/agenda_1478/06_-_Assessments_of_MTC_Resolution_3866.pdf

There are people who've always bought their passes in cash. Mandatory Clipper may mean that their only option is to pay cash for each ride. In that case, mandatory Clipper could be considered discriminatory.

Not everyone is computer savvy and has a bank account. Clipper vendors are still way too limited.

Caltrain has decided not to integrate Clipper into their ticket machines because Caltrain wants to replace their machines entirely in a few years. VTA however will eventually integrate Clipper onto their machines.

accountablevta said...

Seniors who buy VTA monthly stickers have to have RTC discount card, which many of them have Translink chip built in. So that they should be charged for correct fare if they use that to ride.

Joe said...

I wish that VTA's readers were installed in the trains rather than on the platforms. Allowing clipper adopters to hop on the train without running to the machine would be an obvious draw methinks.

amandainsjc said...

Are fare inspectors on proof of payment systems going to have some sort of scanner that scans a Clipper card to see if the person owning it actually has money on it or used it?

I don't see how that'd work on VTA lrt, Caltrain, or even MUNI lrt.

Chuck said...

I won't claim to understand everything about this, but my impression is the answer is yes, fare monitoring agents do have a scanner. I saw someone doing what looked like exactly that on Caltrain this week. I'm still trying to piece it all together, but at least that part seems in place. I think the reader knows that you tapped the card to get on the train. I also saw a sign that reminds you to tap it when you get off the train (otherwise, I'm guessing you will be charged for the maximum number of zones). I'm looking forward to VTA implementing it. I can't say how many times I have been stuck on the platform trying to buy a ticket and having the train not wait. Esp. annoying coming home from airport on a Sunday night. Tired, with infrequent service.

Peter said...

@ amandainsjc

Yes, Caltrain, for example, has a scanner where the conductor inserts the card, and if you've tagged on it shows up with an "OK" message on the display.

Anonymous said...

@amandainsjc: Muni fare inspectors also have a scanner to make sure you have properly debited your Clipper card.

Lucas said...

I'm not sure that the placement of these clipper stations has been thought out that well. In the uk, the oyster check in points are located at turnstiles, like bart. In the netherlands, they are located at the exit of the actual train itself for their tram system. I'm not sure which would be optimal for our system, but for light rails, I would think that they should be installed at the train exit on board, like the netherlands tram. I am sure that costs money... too bad we don't have it like they do.