The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has approved the TransLink smart card transit-fare payment program, declaring it “revenue ready” for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. It’s the last hurdle that TransLink had to meet and paves the way for a summer launch of the new system.
TransLink, a rechargeable dual-interface contact/contactless stored value card, is designed to eventually connect riders on more than two dozen Bay Area transit systems.
BART customers will be able to use TransLink to pay their fares as soon as BART turns on its fare gates to accept the smart cards as payment. There are several steps that will be undertaken in the next several weeks to ensure that the fare gates are ready to accept TransLink, including the BART board’s consideration of a proposed fare increase and completion of staff training to make sure front line employees are familiar with the TransLink system.
Once BART has turned on its fare gates to accept TransLink, the agency will begin a “soft launch” period in which it will invite about a thousand customers now participating in its EZ Rider fare card demonstration to begin using TransLink.
TransLink already is accepted for payment throughout the route and station networks operated by AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit & Ferry and San Francisco Muni. All TransLink cardholders will be able to use their cards on BART once the soft launch begins. But BART will advise its patrons during this period to be prepared to pay their fares another way in the event of a problem.
The Transit Commission, which oversees the TransLink program, is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.