Tag Archives: AC Transit

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

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.

DCG

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12% of San Francisco's union bus-drivers missed work

Add this to the 1,001 reasons why America’s cities are broke:
An alarming 12.2% of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) workers — all unionized — didn’t show up for work in 2011, resulting in the cancellation of scores of bus runs each weekday, with no warning or explanation for the stranded passengers.

Obama loves the Service Employees International Union!

Zusha Elinson reports for The Bay Citizen, April 28, 2012, that on average, about 150 out of 1,200 Muni operators — 12.2% — missed work unexpectedly during the last three months of 2011. Such unscheduled absences, as Muni calls them, include drivers who call in sick to take care of themselves or a member of their family, drivers who have jury duty and drivers facing disciplinary issues.
Faced with a $29 million budget shortfall and out-of-control overtime spending, Muni is no longer paying overtime to replace drivers who call in sick. And so, the transit agency now cancels 35 to 45 runs each weekday to reduce overtime costs. The cancellations, which have resulted in cuts to bus service, are putting renewed attention on the contentious issue of driver absenteeism.
The absentee rate for Muni drivers is high when compared with the national average of 3% across industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is also higher than the absentee rate for other workers at the transit agency. On a typical weekday, 7% of Muni’s mechanics have an unscheduled absence.
But the percentage of unscheduled absences is not as high as the rate at one other Bay Area transit agency. At AC Transit in the East Bay, the unscheduled absence rate for drivers was 12.5% — the worst in the Bay Area — during the last three months of 2011. AC Transit skips about 20 runs a day, according to Clarence Johnson, a transit agency spokesman.
Muni drivers say the health hazards and stress of the job contribute to the unscheduled absences. Ron Austin, vice president of the union that represents 2,200 Muni operators, says:
“We’re dealing with homeless people and sick people and mentally ill people and children and teenagers while we’re trying to keep everything on schedule. All this pressure rests squarely on the operator. You’ve got to be a baby sitter, and you’ve got to drive this 40-foot vehicle through very congested streets.”
The new contract with AC Transit’s 1,200 drivers requires drivers to obtain a doctor’s note if they are absent for more than three days. And operators are generally not paid for sick days unless they take two or more. Before the changes, some drivers would take a sick day in the middle of the week and then come in on their scheduled day off and get overtime. Now the agency’s new labor contract includes a rule requiring drivers to work 40 hours a week before getting overtime.
~Eowyn

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Black Punk Harasses 67-Year-Old White Vet


A scene from an AC Transit bus in the belly of the liberal beast called the San Francisco Bay Area:
A white senior citizen is having a private conversation with a companion. A young black punk begins harassing the senior citizen, accusing him of having made a racist remark in his private conversation.
To avoid a fight, the 67-year-old Vietnam vet moves to another seat. But the punk pursues and hits the old man.
What happens next is a warning to all punks — the Left who reflexively accuse Conservatives of “racism” and the one flying to D.C. today from his $1.5 million taxpayer-funded Hawaiian vacation:

You push us too far, We the People will and are fighting back!

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLQ3mXqAq_Y&feature=player_embedded#!]
The vet’s name is Thomas Bruso. And in case you have doubts, Bruso is no racist. His best friend is a homeless black man whom Bruso has taken in to sleep on the floor of his one-bedroom apartment.
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3T6ADotVpM&feature=related]
H/t beloved fellow May.
~Eowyn

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