Big government at work: Bay Area transit card to get mobile phone update at cost of $194 million

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The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) serves as the Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating, and financing agency, and oversees the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Riders use a “Clipper” card from MTC to avoid having to pay cash at each transit ride and when they change transit systems (over a dozen agencies accept Clipper cards). Clipper cards were introduced in 2006, just 12 years ago. Apparently the system wasn’t designed with advanced technology in mind even though the area is the hub for innovative technology.

Guess how long the MTC has been working on the Clipper card update (called C2)? FOUR YEARS. And the new card won’t be rolled out until 2021.

Guess how much the C2 update and maintenance will cost? Almost half a BILLION dollars.

No biggie, California government agencies always find more taxpayer monies to fund their ridiculously overpriced projects.

Here’s more details from SF Gate: Clipper, once the whiz-bang smart card that rescued commuters from having to buy a ticket or pay a separate cash fare every time they rode a different transit system — Muni, BART, Caltrain, AC Transit, the ferry and so on — has grown stiff, stodgy and nearly obsolete.

The existing system has been irritating to customers and transit operators alike. Riders often must wait three days or more to add value to their cards and several hours for bus and light-rail rides to be reflected in their balances. Adding new transit agencies to the Clipper system is difficult, and offering special fares or discounts is next to impossible.

So regional transit officials are preparing to overhaul the Bay Area’s universal transit card at a cost of $194 million, plus an additional $266 million to operate and maintain the system for the next 10 years.

The new Clipper system, they said Friday, will allow riders to use their mobile phones to pay fares or add value to their cards. Gone will be the multiple-day waiting period to put more cash on cards online. And the changes will make it easier for transit agencies to offer discounts or special fares.

“What we hope they will notice is that the system works better for them,” said Randy Rentschler, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which runs the Clipper program. “It’s faster, it’s more convenient, it’s more functional, they can more easily add value or get cards for their whole family.”

The MTC is set to review plans to award a contract for the new card system to Cubic, the lone bidder and current operator, at an Operations Committee meeting Friday. The full commission is expected to vote on the contract at its Sept. 26 meeting.

Cubic will start work on the next generation of Clipper in January if awarded the contract. The mobile app is scheduled to arrive in 2021, with all existing readers and other equipment replaced the same year.

Much like someone deciding to replace an old laptop or smartphone, the commission decided it was time to invest in a new system, Rentschler said.

“We’ve been thinking about upgrading for some time,” he said. “Eventually, you taxpayers have to bite the bullet. We could have kept what we have running. But that would be less effective than upgrading the whole thing. So we decided it was time to just do it.”

Read the whole SF Gate story here.


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6 responses to “Big government at work: Bay Area transit card to get mobile phone update at cost of $194 million

  1. Demonrats continue to act as if money grows on trees, and California voters continue to vote them in and enable this behavior. 🙁

  2. What do you know or they Californians don’t know any better, well since they have illegal alliens that don’t speak English, and are like cattle hauled to vote, drug addicts, homeless, queers, lesbians, unknown genders and the list goes on, they don’t care to know where the money comes from as long as they are provided with the goodies, and the taxpayers working to keep them going and the government stealing from decent people to provide body guards for the state’s “senator”, no other choice but capitulate and keep the scourge taking over.

  3. Hey, it’s only other people’s money.

  4. What a bargain. I can see them in the smoky backrooms. Checks all around. What we could do for $.95 costs them a $BILLION. Why you couldn’t pay with cash or tokens. I remember when buses used to issue transfers. It was a piece of paper.

    It’s like voting. What’s wrong with a paper ballot and a volunteer to count it? Trillions of dollars are moved around electronically every day and they can’t get an electronic vote computation correct?

    So much of our world used to depend on shared morals and common decency. Those are all dead now. If they can get away with it, they will.

  5. I call shenanigans on that, they’re doing exactly what the tech companies aim to do for the rest of the company, that has likely been stewing in the NWO think tanks for years, (the “cashless society” goal already looks to be being reached with the nigh rabid support and promotion of crypto-currencies etc. even by those researchers who should know better, the subject of the cashless society being one of the major aims for the totalitarian satanist takeover. Not to mention utilizing mobile phones as “wallets” for these things.) its another increment, getting “phones” to be your passport, credit card, drivers license, wallet, etc. all in the name of micromanaging a person’s life, and making as much stuff as “they” can much more difficult, while also driving a caste-making wedge further into society with “haves”, and “have nots”. If you don’t own a mobile phone that might be considered grounds for suspicion, etc. (Remember when “they” decided that not having a facebook profile was grounds for suspicion of being a terrorist?)

    Combine this with the “smart grid” garbage that’s being pushed by hook or crook across the U.S. and you’ve got a totalitarian panopticon, or very nearly, not only can they “track” a person with that, but also the constant communication of the networks with the device would mean that anything could be hacked or revoked, imagine all the saving int he bank vanishing, passports revoked or altered to be unfavorable, same with driver’s licenses, all because of some virus/malware or hacker, be they state/corporation/government approved or unapproved It could get worse still if the vehicles are run similarly, and a “phone” is also the key to the vehicle, thus allowing anyone the capability to lock down the vehicle, or potentially make it start, or possibly even remotely drive it wherever desired… you can imagine what would happen if a house’s security system was similarly linked into that.

    In relation to this subject, obviously fake or “cloned” passes could be made, or legitimate ones revoked to prevent travel, etc. All kinds of abuses… don’t let the tech companies lie to you though, there is no way to completely “secure” anything wireless, ever, period.

    Needless to say this mobile psychosis needs to stop, and it is still within the citizenry’s power to do something to put a stop to it, but effort must be made to do so. (One component is to resist the heck out of any “smart” tech deployments where you live, be it meters for electricity, water, or gas, etc.)


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