In today’s Examiner, they say that anyone with a Translink card can now use it on Cable Cars, saying
“cable car operators will be equipped with handheld card readers that will be able to scan a TransLink card. The reader will be able to verify whether the card includes a current monthly pass. If not, the card will be debited the $5 fare for the ride.”
But Akit says that the only people who can use the TL on a Cable Car are Fast Pass holders! Who’s right?
Short answer? Akit. Here’s the scoop:
As Akit notes, the SF MTA recently announced Cable Car operators will have a a handheld card reader they’ll use to scan your card to see if you’re a monthly pass holder. But, according to the MTA site, and in conflict with the Ex story, the Cable Cars won’t deduct fares from non pass holders’ cards.
I double checked this with Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesperson John Goodwin, who says that “The Examiner report is incorrect. The handheld card readers cannot deduct e-cash.” Why? Because the ” hand-held card readers…are ‘read only.’ Because these devices cannot ‘write’ to the card, they are not able to deduct value and thus cannot accommodate e-cash customers.”
However, Goodwin says that “if you are an Autoload customer and have used Autoload to load a monthly pass onto the card at any time during the first three days of the month,” you’re all set for Rice-a-Roni box fun. If not, you need to have $5 to pay the Cable Car fare.