Clipper autoload is broken

Fred C. ‏@oddnoc
Dammit. Just remembered my Clipper card is empty. And don’t tell me to use autoload. That system is shamefully broken.

How is the autoload system broken? I’ve been using it for a couple of years and haven’t seen any problems. Is it a security issue?

Through my employer, I can fund my transit expenses with pre-tax funds. This is done through WageWorks, which does a great job. The money goes into an account that’s accessed via a specialized MasterCard.

I had linked the MasterCard number to my Clipper card for autoload (actually, it’s one of the old, Translink-branded ones). Whenever the value of the card falls below $10, autoload is supposed to add a user-definable increment to the card. Here’s how it works:

  1. Have $11 on the card
  2. Ride Muni, reducing the card value to $9
  3. Autoload kicks in, incrementing the value of the card to, say $29
  4. Clipper attempts to charge the linked account, which at the moment, has, say, $19.95 in it
  5. Oh no! Insufficent funds!
  6. Clipper card, including the legitimate $9, is blocked
  7. No more transit for you!

Why don’t they swap steps 3 & 4?

The last time this happened, the Clipper customer service representative admitted how broken this is, and advised never using autoload with a commuter debit card, and so I don’t.


Critical Mass sucks and harms cycling

Open letter to the SF Bike Coalition:

The SF Bike Coalition needs to do more than condemn violence at Critical Mass. The time has come to condemn the event. It is a mob. It is a conspiracy to violate traffic laws. It is inherently violent. Condemn it now.

I was personally endangered by the scofflaws at Kearny and Sutter at the most recent CM. I resent and condemn all the cyclists who ran the red light, which was ALL the cyclists.

Critical Mass harms your cause, and will continue to harm your cause until you work vigorously to abolish it.

I am a pedestrian, and I vote.


Yelling man’s come-uppance

All afternoon, there was a guy standing on the sidewalk opposite our office. He was high, or crazy, or both, and yelling incoherently. Then, as I was walking to Montgomery Station to catch a J car after work, he was at Kearny & Post, a block away from our office, getting arrested by one of the two traffic cops who stop traffic so the trolleybus can change lanes. He was addressing the police officer as "motherfucker," which did not seem to affect the arrest process at all.