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MTS Adds Long-Delayed 'Stored Value' To Compass Card

June 28, 2017 1:30 p.m.

MTS Adds Long-Delayed 'Stored Value' To Compass Card


Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS

Related Story: MTS Adds Long-Delayed 'Stored Value' To Compass Card


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. A change in the way people can pay for San Diego's public transit could help boost ridership. That is what MTS officials are hoping as a introduced a system called compass card . Starting today writers of the bus and trolley will be able to load and store money on their cards. Joining me is and you grow in. Apparently the sending Association a government promised this kind of stored value a decade ago. Would spin the holdup?
You said innovation. I was thinking innovation of 10 or so years ago. They promised when Sandag was conceiving of the compass card payment system. There wasn't a lot of pressure on them to add stored value. We found that as they were heading over ownership and management of the compass card system to MTS there was a timeline that rolled out stored value by March 2014. Some emails of staffers said that they were experiencing glitches and they are not sure that it was worth all of the effort or their time. So I started reporting on some of those promises after that a nonprofit group launch a campaign that add stored value and they got some board members on board with the campaign and here we are.
How was the stored value system on the compass card different from the way people pay for San Diego public transit?
The compass card was good for daily multi-day and monthly passes only. So you cannot load in store money on the card to pay for single rights as you wish. You can load money. I did an hour go. You tap your card on the card reader and it detects a single fair unless you ask for a day pass and the cost of one and writers for whom it's not worth buying a monthly pass or day pass would have to keep a stock of single bills and quarters to pay for single right.
Who are the writers that are going to use the stored value function?
They are called choice writers. People who have options other than public transit to get around. These are a minority of public transit riders in San Diego. Most people have no other option and they have no car but attracting the choice writers people who have other options of getting around is crucial to expanding the use of public transit and maximizing those investments and the state schools of reducing greenhouse gas emission.
Have they been growing over the past several years?
No. It's been falling. This is a trend that's not exclusive to San Diego. We are seeing this across the country. There's competition from Cooper and Lyft and investment in new public transit infrastructure across the country. Whether or not stored value will have a significant impact on ridership I think it is unclear.
Listeners may remember you are reporting on another compass card issue that they haven't met data security standards. The cards themselves haven't met those standards. That hasn't been fixed with this rollout has a?
MTS says they been making improvements to security both online and in the physical infrastructure of the vending machines and they are going to be presenting some new information about that to the board of directors of MTS in the coming months. The system is not compliant with the standards that are set by credit card companies. It would take a significant amount of money to actually reach compliance with those standards. Instead what they said that they are working on further down the road is what's called the next generation their collection system that will improve data security but make their payment whole lot convenient. There different ways that that can turn out. We don't have a lot of information right now and there's also no deadline that -- for implementing it. They will be giving a presentation on that. We will see how much new information we get there.
So don't load your life savings on your compass card .
There is a $300 limit. If you choose to load on your card you can registered for balance protection online to go so if you lose your card, you don't lose your money.
I've been speaking with Andrew Bowen. Thank you.
Thank you.