On Transit Passes and Passbook

Reading this piece by The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino on Passbook in iOS 6 sparked an idea.

When I’m not on foot or getting a ride from someone -- such is the life of a non-driver -- I’m taking the bus. About a year or so ago, AC Transit transitioned from using paper passes1 to the electronic Clipper Card, which is accepted by several Bay Area transit agencies. The Clipper Card is great: just swipe it at the scanner and you’re good to go. And since it’s honored by multiple transit services, there’s no more worrying about different tickets for the bus, BART, whatever. I've found it to be a real time-saver; very convenient.

Related to Passbook, I think it’d be great if you could enter your Clipper Card information into the app. This way, there’d be one less card to haul around, and you could just wave your iPhone in front of the card reader upon boarding the bus. Granted, I don’t know the logistics of such an implementation, but nonetheless it’d make Passbook that much more useful, at least to me. At this point, the only value I can conceivably get from Passbook is using it to pay for my caramel macchiato at Starbucks.

I should get in touch with Clipper’s customer support, and pitch my idea. Doesn’t hurt to try, right?

Update 9/3: Right after publishing this, I contacted Clipper's customer support with an email outlining my idea. We'll see if they get back to me. I hope so, even if it's just to reject my idea. 

  1. Obviously, riders can still pay their fare with cash too.  ↩