The University of California, Berkeley is set to refine its transit pass system for students, phasing out the long-used Class Pass stickers adhered to Cal 1 Cards that signified Alameda-Contra Costa (AC) Transit eligibility.
As reported by The Daily Californian, beginning with the fall semester the stickers will be replaced by the new AC Transit Easypass, a personalized card that provides students with unlimited access to AC Transit, while also functioning as a reloadable Clipper Card for BART, CalTrain and San Francisco Muni transit.
The move is intended to make the transit experience simpler for students, and marks the campus’s latest effort to give students access to all local public transportation via their student ID cards.
Students can now receive the new personalized cards at the Cal 1 Card Office with online confirmation and their current student ID. The cards are also updated automatically at the end of each semester, removing long lines and wait times that previously built up when the stickers had to be renewed each semester. University officials do expect initial delays in the opening few weeks of the transition, which will include the distribution of 37,000 pre-printed cards to students.
According to an AC Transit spokesperson, the stickers posed problems for bus operations because they could not be deactivated and it was it was impossible to keep individuals from selling or copying the stickers.
Class Pass stickers were instituted in 1999 and were paid for by all students as part of their semester fees. The new cards will remain a fully-functioning Clipper Cards upon graduation. The campus has been trying to consolidate the Class Pass into an electronic form for seven years.
Initial plans were to have Cal 1 Cards with Clipper capabilities issued this summer. However, that launch date was pushed back following some all-to-familiar technological hurdles associated with existing keycard access and other card functions.
Getting the Cal 1 Card and Clipper card to function together resulted in “chip confusion,” says one BART spokesperson. UC Berkeley will, however, begin to make other technological changes — including updating older access readers — as part of a larger two-year plan to make the Cal 1 Card compatible across campus and public transit systems.
Elsewhere, BART has begun its own program to facilitate transit discounts for college students via the campus card. In July, the authority approved the Gator Pass at San Francisco State University.