TransLink® Takes First Step Toward Regionwide Rollout Smart Fare Card Begins “Pre-Launch” on AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry

TransLink® Takes First Step Toward Regionwide Rollout Smart Fare Card Begins “Pre-Launch” on AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry

OAKLAND, Calif., November 17, 2006–The Bay Area’s TransLink® transit fare smart card today began the first stage of its regionwide expansion with the activation of TransLink equipment on all AC Transit and Dumbarton Express buses, all Golden Gate Transit buses and in Golden Gate Ferry terminals. The TransLink system will expand in phases over the next few years to include all other Bay Area transit agencies. BART, Muni and Caltrain are scheduled to activate TransLink throughout their route and stations network in 2007, with SamTrans and the Santa Clara VTA coming aboard in 2008, and 19 other Bay Area transit systems joining in 2009-10. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is spearheading the TransLink initiative on behalf of the Bay Area’s transit agencies.

Over the next several weeks, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry will begin recruiting several hundred riders to use TransLink cards and to troubleshoot the new high-tech fare payment system. This “pre-launch” initiative allows regular customers to help identify and resolve any issues. This will help ensure trouble-free operation when AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry begin full-scale promotion of the TransLink system in 2007.

“AC Transit is proud to help initiate this regional, multi-agency transit experience,” said Rick Fernandez, the agency’s general manager. “It’s an opportunity to do real-time evaluations of some highly technical TransLink equipment, while giving operators and riders a chance to get comfortable with the system. This will allow us to see if there are any unanticipated issues in getting passengers smoothly from point A to point B using Translink.”

“We‚re pleased to join AC Transit in leading the way for the Bay Area,” said Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District General Manager Celia Kupersmith. “The pre-launch is a strategic step to increase the number of riders who are using TransLink in live situations over the next few weeks so we can move faster toward full rollout to all our customers.”

Golden Gate Transit customers who ride commute routes, and all Golden Gate Ferry riders who are interested in participating in the TransLink pre-launch, can sign up online at Information about pre-launch recruitment will be delivered directly to Golden Gate customers who currently are registered to automatically receive announcements via e-mail.

Information about the TransLink pre-launch will be delivered online to AC Transit riders through the transit agency’s e-NEWS service. AC Transit riders interested in participating in the pre-launch should sign up for e-NEWS on the agency’s Web site at as soon as possible.

TransLink lets riders pay fares with a single, reloadable smart card, eliminating the need for exact change, paper passes, tickets or ride books. Passengers simply “tag” their cards by touching them to the TransLink logo on the card reader as they board a bus or enter a transit station. The TransLink card automatically deducts the correct fare and applies any discounts–including transfers–for each trip.

Riders can order a TransLink card online at, by phone (1-877-878-8883, or TDD/TTY 711 or 1-800-735-2929) or by mail from the TransLink Customer Service Center. TransLink cards also are available at select transit agency ticket offices, at any of 75 participating retail locations (see for a listing), or through various employee transit benefit programs.

Customers can add electronic cash (e-cash) or transit passes to their cards at select transit stations and transit agency ticket offices, online at, by phone or at any of the 75 participating retail locations. An Autoload feature allows TransLink customers to add value to their cards automatically from a bank account or credit card. TransLink cards normally cost $5 but will be issued free of charge to customers who sign up for Autoload when they request a card. TransLink also offers card replacement and balance restoration for customers who register their cards. Registration is free and can be completed easily online, over the phone or by mail.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

TransLink® Specifics

Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry

All of the participating Bay Areas transit systems have unique operating characteristics that are captured in the TransLink program. The following are a few of the key TransLink highlights specific to Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry.

Fares and TransLink

The fare structure for Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry is mimicked in the TransLink system: TransLink cards will be available for adults, seniors/persons with disabilities and youth. The card will have the appropriate discount encoded to it so it can automatically calculate the appropriate discounted fares for Golden Gate users. Adults will receive the same discounts they receive now by purchasing ticket books. Seniors, youth, and persons with disabilities using TransLink will continue to receive a 50% discount off the adult cash fare.

Translink cards can be obtained by mail or in person at selected card distribution locations. After obtaining a card, customers can add cash value to the TransLink card online, by phone, and at selected transit stations and card distribution locations. Customers can also register their card to add value automatically using a pre-authorized secure transfer of funds from a bank account or credit card to the customer’s TransLink card.

Within the Golden Gate system, customers can open accounts, add value, ask questions, check account balances at ticket office terminals (TOTs) available at the Larkspur and San Francisco Ferry Terminals ticket windows and the lobby window in the administrative offices at 1011 Andersen Dr, San Rafael. Stand alone value machines, dubbed add value machines (AVMs), are available at Larkspur and San Francisco Ferry Terminals, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza bus shelters, on all four passenger boarding platforms in the San Rafael Transit Center, outside the administrative offices at 1011 Andersen Dr. San Rafael Transit Center and outside the terminal lobby at the GGT bus terminal in Santa Rosa at Piner & Industrial.

Using TransLink on Golden Gate Ferry

TransLink card reader devices are installed at the Golden Gate Larkspur and San Francisco Ferry Terminal fare gates. The customer must “tag” (touch) their TransLink card to the device upon entering. The appropriate ferry fare is then deducted from the TransLink card. Passengers on the Sausalito Ferry to San Francisco “tag” a card reader as they leave the ferry in San Francisco.

Using TransLink on Golden Gate Transit

When a customer boards a Golden Gate Transit bus, they will “tag” on at the TransLink card reader device located in the entrance area of the bus. At the completion of their trip, the customer must again “tag” the TransLink device and the appropriate bus fare is then deducted from the TransLink card. If a customer does not “tag off”, they may be assessed the highest discounted fare in the GGT bus system which is currently $6.40.

Transfers between Golden Gate Transit and AC Transit

Once both systems are in the pre-launch mode, if a customer is transferring between Golden Gate Transit Routes 40 and 42 services across the Richmond Bridge and AC Transit, the TransLink card will automatically process the transfer electronically and deduct the correct fare. The TransLink card keeps track of prior ride and automatically provides the correct transfer discount, where appropriate. Until the San Francisco Muni is “live” with TransLink, customers must continue to obtain a Fast Pass sticker (bus riders transferring to Muni) or coupon (ferry customers transferring to Muni) as they currently do to transfer to these systems.


John Goodwin, MTC: 510.817.5862
Mary Currie, Golden Gate: 415.923.2222
Clarence Johnson, AC Transit: 510.891.4745