“Can we open this up”? BART board wants more customer feedback for Clipper

At the April 24th board meeting, the BART board gave its staff feedback that they want to see more direct customer feedback on the MTC plans to upgrade Clipper.   To date, the MTC’s process to gather requirements for the next generation of Clipper is focused on working directly with agencies, and formal meetings with agencies’ advisory bodies. But the process has not included direct customer feedback from riders with surveys, focus groups, or other direct information, nor has it included engaging transit advocacy groups, bicycle groups, and other groups representing large numbers of riders.

In response to questions from Board Member Radulovitch, BART staff said that BART itself had done some rider focus groups regarding how Clipper is serving BART customers directly, but that there had been no outreach to riders about issues relating to fare integration and experience across multiple agencies.

In response to the description of this approach, Board Member Radulovich replied: “Can we open this up? Can we say this is an important discussion for the region to have and we need to involve all the stakeholders. This is really important, members of the public should have a say.  The procurement process is starting now and there hasn’t yet been public input, and that’s sort of backward.”       Board member Saltzman reiterated the strong interest in customer input.

Radulovitch also recommended consideration of the governance of Clipper. Rather than relying on MTC, perhaps it would make sense to have a consortium of operators.  Multiple board members expressed frustration with the lack of responsiveness of the current structure.

Other comments from BART board members included a desire to run more flexible and less costly experiments in fares and fare integration, and better integration of BikeLink bike parking and vehicle parking, the ability to acquire Clipper cards at BART stations, and the immediate application of customer payment to their Clipper account, rather than having to wait a few days for payments to be applied.

If you agree that there should be more rider feedback in the next generation Clipper, and a greater level of regional fare integration, click here to sign the petition tell the MTC and transit boards.