On their website, the brand-new Clipper card is being touted as an “easy, fast and convenient” way to pay to get from one place to another using Bay Area public transportation.
Tell that to a bevy of BART, CalTrain, and Muni riders throughout the Bay Area who are up in arms about the problems they are already experiencing using their Clipper cards, in particular with local employers who use Wage Works, a company that provides pre-tax benefits for businesses who wish to supply Clipper cards to their employees.
The Appeal first received a tip on this story from an anonymous San Franciscan who called to report the “major issues” for people using Clipper cards via WageWorks.
“Clipper is stonewalling people and has not loaded their funds for August. And now when you call their number it says all circuits are busy,” the disgruntled tipster said.
Sure enough, the Muni Diaries and Akit both verify that the brouhaha stems from the fact that Wage Works told its Clipper cardholders that they would receive their preloaded transit cards at the beginning of August. Instead however, an estimated 6,000 users have boarded a train or bus only to find that their August passes were not on their cards, after all, forcing them to pay for their rides out of their own pockets.
To make matters worse, people have experienced problems getting help with their issues both through the Clipper card website and the phone number of their customer service center.
In a statement released onto their Facebook page, Bay Area Clipper acknowledges the inconveniences with Wage Works cardholders and says they are doing their best to solve the issues.
“We have experienced an issue processing the Wage Works Transit Benefit orders for the month of August,” the statement reads. “The issue has been identified and we are working towards a resolution. Your order may be available beginning Tuesday morning, August 3rd but may take an additional 2-3 days depending on the transit system your ride. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and we thank you for your patience.”
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Public Information Officer John Goodwin says the cause of the issue is a software glitch that Clipper card and Wage Works have not yet resolved.
“There is some kind of a software problem where [the data] failed to be uploaded on the night of July 31, and we didn’t really discover it until yesterday morning, the first commute day of the month,” Goodwin said. “We’re going to try it again tonight and hope that everything’s working normally for tomorrow.”
He added that while the MTC has not yet determined a way to reimburse cardholders who have had to pay out of pocket due to this malfunction, Clipper will release a statement to the public once the problem is fixed as to how to get repaid. In the meantime, Goodwin says customers should hold onto their receipts and use the e-cash purse component on their cards if they are able to.
“We will solve the software problem first and then work out the reimbursement details later,” Goodwin said.