With just a simple swipe of a Clipper card, Bay Area residents can hop on nearly any bus or train. Transit smart cards are catching on, with over one million Clipper card users. However, starting this past fall, commuters have become concerned about their personal information that’s stored on the popular cards. Now the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is addressing the issue, but just how much information will be stored?
Clipper cards have the power to record years of travel. When a card is swiped, the transit agency records where a ride starts and stops. After the ride is over, the information is recorded into a database that keeps rider travel information for up to seven years after an account has been closed.
According to the Peninsula Press, riders can choose not to register their cards. However, there are benefits to signing up for an account, which is why most riders have one. Also, if credit or debit cards are used to pay fares on Clipper cards, the rider information can be tracked back to a personal identity.
This information can be helpful for public safety. In fact, commuter information has been used in three criminal cases. Yet, this information is concerning to the public, mainly because personal information could be used in both criminal and civil cases. Now riders are realizing that with new technology, privacy can be an issue.
That’s why the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is now looking at new options for Clipper card information. The Bay Citizen reported that they are currently considering cutting the data storage time from seven to three years. They now consider three years to be enough time to hold any billing or travel information for a customer. John Goodwin, spokesman for the commission, said that they would like to keep personal information safe by only using what is necessary, or only what is based on demand.
As transit smart cards grow in demand, let Capture Technologies help your transit agency to make one of your own. Ask us about our ID card printers, supplies and software. We are dedicated to making your solutions simple.