Today’s edition of The Examiner has an article about the Clipper Card scam that has been affecting the BART system lately.
Apparently, the BART system is losing money because the Clipper Card program allows people to pay the minimum value to get onto BART but don’t have to pay the difference between the minimum value and the actual trip “until the next time the user refilled the card,” which won’t necessarily happen.
What I find troubling is the fact that BART finds the loss of money so insignificant that they aren’t going to do anything about it. Now, as a student, I do sometimes feel that BART is expensive and can easily see how people can be tempted to cheat the system. However, I appreciate the service that they provide and therefore want to pay for the services to help keep BART running. With that in mind, I think that any and all losses in revenue, little or not, are still dollars that could otherwise help the system run more trains more frequently and possibly even longer (maybe even 24/7!) in the long run. Therefore, BART should be concerned, especially in a time when services such as MUNI and AC Transit have to make (sometimes negative) changes to meet budget needs.
Even worse, because of this expose, more people will know how the scam works and might try it out themselves. Then again, if that does happen, maybe BART will see the higher and higher loss they are taking and actually do something about it.