More than two years after AC Transit implemented and more than 6 months after Muni came on board, BART finally started allowing its riders to use Translink yesterday. Of course, it’s BART, so they’re calling this a “limited rollout” for BART EZ Rider users, but if you already have a Translink card, you can use it immediately! (The only thing that really makes this rollout limited is how they’re advertising it and that you should be prepared to buy a regular BART card if their Translink readers aren’t working.)
I could not be much more excited about this (well, maybe I’d be more excited if this happened a year ago), and it comes at perfect timing since I just used the last few dollars on my BART card. This means no more missing trains because I’m fumbling to find dollars (which happened to me this past weekend). This means it will be easier for everyone to switch between AC Transit, BART, and Muni. Yes, you will now be able to carry around just one transit card for these agencies. And my guess is that now that BART finally joined the program, transit agencies around the Bay will be quick to jump on board.
Like I said, the BART press release is promoting this rollout as limited. They mention that current Translink users can use the cards on BART and that anyone can purchase a Translink card. You can do so online, at the AC Transit offices downtown, at any Walgreens, and at many other stores throughout the Bay Area.
If you don’t have one yet, go get one now. Better yet, get one for yourself and a friend or two (I’ve given a couple loaded cards to friends as birthday presents). Let’s prove James Fang, the BART director who’s obsessed with being able to use cell phones as fare payment, wrong in the statements he made just a few months ago:
“I think (the phone technology) is a very good thing for the district,” he told us before heading off to Europe. “And when our project hits, I guess it will show TransLink was a disaster.
“And remember – I told you so.”
The only disaster about Translink is that it took BART two years to join AC Transit in this successful program. But now the wait is over. So go ahead and enjoy transit, free from multiple transit cards and fumbling for change.
Previous posts on Translink: