I have read the problems about Translink and seem to agree with the general public. The problems are as follows: 1) This is a store and forward card. This technology is heavily utilized when a link back to the central server or internet is unavailable or intermittent. The Translink receivers on the San Francisco Muni buses do not have a constant connection out to the internet. That means any transactions taken place will not get recorded until the bus returns to the barn for upload. 2) Purchases made over the internet take up to 72 hours before they are available. That renders the whole process useless if you have to wait that long. 3) Only a small number of add fare machines are available in the city and retail stores. 4) You must tag your card on an add fare terminal to immediately receive the funds you purchased. 5) The process for a replacement card is costly ($5) and cumbersome because there is no customer service center available for immediate replacement. They require you to send the card back via mail for verification before a new one is sent out. If you damage the card either on purpose or by accident, you must pay $10.
Here is my review on it:
Translink, you're everything I've feared and more. I got one of these cards from the Translink guys at Powell Station during their advertised giveaway days. I then switched my Wage Works from a physical Muni Adult "A" fast pass to Translink. I even called them and was ensured that I would receive the benefit one day before the start of the month. After reading so many bad things about this technology that I was super paranoid about my fast pass not loading, I went to an add fare terminal a day before the first of the month and didn't see it loaded. So I called them and asked about this "problem". They said, oh yes your card has value on it and will be loaded the next time you tag it to a reader... I also asked why their website doesn't show the pass and was told their website updates nightly and won't appear until after midnight. Okay that sounds reasonable... I then tried to get on a bus and tag the reader. Red lights! Insufficient balance $0.00. HUH? I called back and explained what happened and they said it's possible the bus didn't get the update. Their solution was to try it on another bus.
I read it takes up to 72 hours for the funds to show up if you make a purchase online. There's no way that would apply to autoload from a commuter program. It should've been available days in advance on their system.
I tag the card and drum roll please, same thing! I understand this is a store and forward card but c'mon it shouldn't be like this. I read up on how it loads immediately if you stick your card in an add fare terminal directly connected to their system. Well not all of us live near one of these kiosks and it's limited only to a few underground stations in SF. If you can't get your act together, how the hell are you going to expect people to transition to Translink and abandon paper passes? The theory is great but I don't think it's quite prime for the general public yet. I'll give you another chance to redeem yourself on Monday when I head to work. That's hopefully at least 72 hours from when the pass supposedly "loaded" from Wage Works...