BART Translink FAIL

14 Aug

I left work a bit early today to go to the airport. I admit that I was cutting it a bit close, but I thought I could make it to BART. And I should have, but the Translink readers at the 14th Street entrance to 12th Street were all not working.

I didn’t have a paper ticket and couldn’t buy one on time so I asked an agent if any of the readers were working. Nonchalantly, he told me I’d need to go to the other end of the station.

Look, I understand they’re still in test mode, but it seems that at all the central Oakland stations, readers only work at one entrance.

Oh well, I guess this won’t matter for a little while starting Monday, but unless BART wants Translink to fail, they need to fix this problem.

15 Responses to “BART Translink FAIL”

  1. Kenny August 15, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    BART wants translink to fail. Why else have they dragged their feet on implementation for years?

  2. david vartanoff August 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    agree, BART will sabotage anything they don’t like. I will add the agent sounds like a good example of ‘customer focus’ NOT!

  3. John Knox White August 16, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    I’ve used my Translink card twice at the 14th Street entrance to 12th Street BART and it’s worked both times. What I’ve found is that some of BART’s readers take a really long time to read it (unlike the EZ-BART card).

    • Becks August 16, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that they’ve worked for you. But what do you mean about the readers taking a long time? Do you mean I should swipe a few times before giving up?

  4. Nick S. August 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    I’ve been using my TransLink on BART since day one of the trial roll-out. Haven’t had a problem. I’ve been using it at 12th, 19th, and Daly City with no problems.

    John is right about TransLink taking longer than EZ-Rider did. I typically have to hold my TransLink card in front of the reader for 2 seconds or so. EZ-Rider worked darn near instantly. Don’t swipe it. Just hold it there.

    • Becks August 18, 2009 at 7:04 am #

      Thanks for the tip. I’ve been swiping it, since that’s how it works on AC Transit. And it often tells me to see an agent. I’ll try just holding it in front of the reader next time.

      • Nick S. August 18, 2009 at 7:11 am #

        I’ve never tried swiping it on AC. I always just hold it in front of the reader until it beeps.

        BTW, I love your blog. I’ve only been living in Oakland for a little over a year, and I have immersed myself in the great Oakland Blogosphere. This blog is one of my regular readings.

        • Becks August 18, 2009 at 7:18 am #

          Thanks Nick!

  5. david vartanoff August 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Noticed today it is eleven days since Translink emailed me “to confirm that your TransLink® event has been received. We are processing this event as quickly as possible. ” (a request for recent usage record)
    No info received yet.

    • TransLink August 19, 2009 at 6:53 am #

      Hi David. Thanks for your interest in TransLink. I’m sorry that your request has taken 11 days to complete; unless it was some complicated refund or technical problem requiring a bunch of research, the request shouldn’t take that long. What was the request? If you have the time, could you submit a complaint through the TransLink website (>customer support>contact us) so that we have a record of your issue?

  6. TransLink August 19, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    Hi, thanks for your interest in TransLink. All of the readers at every BART faregate in every station should now be working with a TransLink card. If you encounter a problem and you have a moment, please email or call 877.878.8883 to report the problem. If possible, please be specific about the station, the location, the specific gate, and the nature of the problem. The more TransLink knows, the more TransLink and BART can do to diagnose and address any problems.

    As a former EZ Rider customer and based on my recent experience using TransLink, I agree that the TransLink transaction seems slower. It is, frankly, a more complicated transaction than the EZ Rider transaction because of the need to not only open the faregate, but also record the transaction on the TransLink card for the purpose of enabling discounts to AC Transit, Muni, etc. Still, the time of the actual transaction should be less than 300 milliseconds. As you tag the card, be careful in placing the card on the reader and holding it for a split second; in other words, don’t wave or swipe the card too quickly.

    Thanks again for your interest in TransLink. We’re on Facebook now and we will try to address customer comments through that forum, so feel free to post questions and comments there.

  7. Stefan Lasiewski August 19, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    I’ve been a Translink user for a couple years (I was an ‘early adopter’).

    I was frustrated by Bart’s slow adoption of Translink, so I finally signed up for EZRider. I got my EZRider card around August 5th. Now, I heard that Bart is starting tests with Translink.

    Like many people, I just swipe my wallet against the sensor. It’s more convenient then pulling out the card, etc.

    However, I noticed that if you have both the EZRider and Translink card in your wallet and you swipe your wallet against the sensor, the machine will get confused. It seems like the reader is reading both cards at once, or one signal is interfering the other.

    The solution is obvious: Remove the extra card, or swipe one card at a time.

    Just a hint for my fellow Bart commuters.

  8. Janis Mara August 20, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Sounds like TransLink is not working for everybody on BART – I was wondering how it would go. If a whole lotta people are having problems, it might be worth a story.

  9. david vartanoff August 31, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    So, despite”could you submit a complaint through the TransLink website ” which I promptly did, Translink never managed to reply despite my having provided their internal incident ##. Contacting AC Transit worked much better. TL sent AC the data which they forwarded. Net result FWIW, it took TL two business days to shuffle paper internally to bill my credit card for the pass. Wonder how long until AC gets paid? As a comparison, in 1982, I paid for a hotel stay on a Fri in VA which was on my card as of that night.

  10. Patrick Willis February 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Why did BART implement a failed pay system?

    BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) uses Clipper, a fast-pass style card. They allowed customers to carry a negative balance, hoping they refill the card. Users discovered this and last month 15,091 cards were thrown away with a negative balance, costing the company $121,271. How did this happen?

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