Appeal staffer Rita is like Prince’s mother — she’s never satisfied! No sooner did BART announce their implementation of the TransLink transit payment card that she asked “When’s Translink coming to Caltrain????”

We’ll do anything for Rita, so we rang up Caltrain Public Information Officer Christine Dunn, who told us that after “rigorous, real-world” testing Caltrain employees earlier this summer, as of August 17, 400 non-Caltrain-employeed volunteers will start tagging their cards as they ride the rails.

As with BART’s soft launch (which we all enjoyed the fruits of this morning), however, anyone with a working TransLink card will be able to use the TL transponders to tag and ride. And, also, as with BART’s soft launch, this is “not necessarily recommended” as Dunn said “we can’t be sure everything will work perfectly during the testing phase.” So this method of payment is best left to those who choose to live life on the jagged edge.

This reporter’s not a big Caltrainer, is there anyone out there who is who wants to keep us posted on how this goes? If so, let us know.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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