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it's all happening for erg

  1. 549 Posts.
    Several good decisions have come to ERG in the last few days. Rome signed up under better new terms and now BART, the San Francisco Bay area's regional transport orgainization has joined the Translink scheme meaning a huge increase in passenger use of ERG technology, (means more profits)

    BART comes around to Translink
    Fri, Sep. 26, 2003

    By Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    BART directors embraced a universal transit farecard Thursday, ensuring that commuters who hop between trains, buses and ferries will reap the benefits of Translink.

    The roll-out schedule calls for commuters to use Translink within a year on Golden Gate buses and ferries, and on BART and four other transit services within two to three years.

    BART balked last month in a showdown over money and design of Translink's features, fueling concern that the rail agency would abandon the project.

    But rail leaders and Translink project managers at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission inked a classic compromise: Neither side got everything it wanted.

    BART backed away from its demand of guaranteed cash to retrofit ticket sales machines in train stations to accommodate Translink. Instead, directors accepted a promise of $9 million if it becomes available.

    The commission promised to use proceeds of a proposed $1 bridge toll hike, which must still pass muster with the voters and the governor.

    If the toll money fizzles, commission staffers vowed to look for cash from "available uncommitted sources," a fuzzy category in a world with huge demands and few stray pennies.

    The commission agreed to pay for the Translink retrofit of BART's newly installed faregates despite its contention that BART should have done the work as part of the equipment order.

    The farecard staff will also modify Translink software at a cost of $4 million to offer a BART-only account on the farecard that mimics the rail agency's discount ticket program.

    Train riders who purchase a ticket of $30 or more receive a 6.7 percent discount. For example, a rider who spends $30 receives a ticket worth $32.

    BART directors appeared mollified and characterized the tough negotiations as a means to provide its customers with a better product.

    "This was not about interagency squabbles," said Dan Richard of Walnut Creek. "This was about BART standing up for its riders."

    While Translink managers may disagree, they will no doubt be relieved to close the book on the issue.

    Planners estimate BART riders will generate a third of Translink's business and few dispute its lead role in any universal farecard program.

    The commission reluctantly moved ahead without BART on Wednesday and ordered Translink contractor, ERG of Australia, to proceed with the roll-out.

    Translink will now transition quickly from a prolonged, 19-month test and into a full-scale operation.

    Commuters will be able to use the card within a year on Golden Gate buses and ferries.

    Six additional transit operators will follow, including San Francisco MUNI, Samtrans, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transit and BART. The order has not been set. Eventually, the commission expects to sign up all 27 transit operators in the Bay Area.

    Since February 2002, only a few thousand participants in Translink's pilot project have had access to the limited network of buses, ferries and trains equipped to read the smart card.

    Translink allows commuters to wave a single plastic card embedded with a computer chip and antenna past a reader that electronically deducts the appropriate fare from a prepaid account.

    Lisa Vorderbrueggen covers transportation and growth. Reach her at 925-945-4773 or [email protected]
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