Faulty Clipper Card System Angers Muni Riders Subject To Fines

By Phil Matier : CBSlocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The technological advances to make San Francisco’s Muni a more efficient public-transportation system are actually working against riders, several of whom are getting fined because of faulty card readers not registering their fare purchases.

To make it more explicit, this is all about the scanner not reading Clipper cards. You’ve seen it before; Muni riders get on the bus, flash their card and it’s supposed to make that beeping sound, but often times it doesn’t register. According to transit officials 2 percent of the card readers aren’t operating correctly daily.

Muni’s fare system is based on the honor system, but once in a while at some of the transit system’s stops, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) inspectors are on hand to double check that riders are properly registered or have paid their bus fare. If your Clipper card didn’t make the beeping sound it’s supposed to, riders are subject to a $103 fine.

Riders are beginning to grow more vocal about their displeasure with the situation since it isn’t their fault that the Clipper card scanner system doesn’t always work properly.

So it’s like bus roulette if you’re using Clipper card on Muni. Assuming the 2 percent figure is correct; that’s like one out of every 50 buses that has a screwed-up card reader you’re dealing with. Not to mention at the end of your ride you might get a hefty fine.

With the BART system, which also uses Clipper, it either lets you in or it doesn’t and then you can plead your case with the station agent working in the booth.

Muni is more concerned with getting its riders on and off in order to be time efficient. Muni had estimated that they were losing $20 million a year in lost revenue from fare evasion.

If you do get a citation for fare evasion you have an opportunity to go to the SFMTA to contest it, but that of course takes time and you might have to take time off from work. It really makes me question how many millions were spent on getting the over-budgeted Clipper card system up and running in the first place… (more)

This is old news, but, interesting that the riders are getting more vocal about it. On a slightly different notes, we understand the new ticketing process for motorists also leaves a few things to be desired. Here’s Why You Should Fight Your Muni Fare Evasion Ticket.

Ticket Complaint story of the week.

A friend got a ticket for not having a seat-belt fastened.  There is no information on the ticket indicating the amount of the fine, only a phone number to call.  When he called the number a voice told him you are number 28 in the wait line, then put on some jazz music. Every now and then a voice would tell him where he was in the line. After about 20 minutes it got down to number 7 or and then the line went dead. This happened twice. After that, he gave up.

Anyone else have any of these problems? Motorists ticket complaints can be filed here: dptwatch.com