For the past two months, Clipper card reader technology and decals have been materializing on fare boxes, gates and ticketing machines throughout the San Francisco Bay Area transportation network. Cubic Transportation Systems , a subsidiary of Cubic Corporation, installed the Clipper branding and is in charge of distributing the new smart card to local commuters.
Featuring colorful abstract artwork symbolizing 19th century Clipper ships, the reloadable Clipper card allows riders to transfer from one transit agency to another by simply touching the card to the Clipper card reader on board each bus or at rail stations, using one card to pay for all the rides. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the agency that plans, coordinates and finances transportation projects in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, chose the name Clipper because of its connection with the region's transportation history.
In the mid 1800s, San Francisco Bay was a port for the Clipper ships that brought the 49ers and prosperity to California. In the 1930s and 1940s, Flying Clipper amphibious airplanes flew to and from the city. Baseball fans also like the connection to Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, who was born and raised in the Bay Area.
Cubic joined with MTC officials in officially launching the new smart card on June 16. So far, Muni, BART, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, Golden Gate Ferry and Caltrain, representing about 80 percent of Bay area transit riders are on the regional smart card bandwagon. Eventually, 25 transit agencies plan to use the Clipper system.
"Cubic's concord-based customer service team has been working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to get the word out about Clipper and distribute the new smart card," said Dave Lapczynski, Senior VP of Worldwide Services for Cubic Transportation Systems. "Commuters who would like to have a Clipper card are encouraged to get one now, while they are free."
In addition to swapping TransLink decals and modifying card readers to accept the new smart card, Cubic's Concord employees helped MTC to create the new Clipper web site, which Cubic will maintain. Concord employees also install and upgrade hardware and software, operate a call center and repair depot, provide field maintenance, and supply central system administration, financial settlement and clearing for Bay Area transit agencies.
"Cubic has a complete end-to-end service offering in the Bay Area," noted Richard Wunderle, Senior VP and GM of Cubic Transportation Systems.