Smart cards are now in use by San Francisco Bay Area commuters. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and a half-dozen transit operators kicked off ‘Phase I’ of a six-month pilot program of the ‘TransLink’ electronic fare payment system. Last week, the MTC and the TransLink Customer Service Center mailed out ‘TransLink’ smart cards to approximately 4,300 program volunteers. Each card has $3 loaded in TransLink e-cash. All together, 18 rail stations, 31 bus lines, three ferry terminals, and two light-rail lines have been outfitted with ‘TransLink’ card-readers. Participants in the pilot can load value onto their fare cards at self-serve ‘Add Value Machines’ in transit stations and some 40 retail locations throughout the Bay Area, or by calling the ‘TransLink Customer Service Center’. After the success of the pilot program is determined, MTC and the participating agencies plan to install ‘TransLink’ equipment on all 21 Bay Area transit systems, which together carry in excess of 1.6 million riders a day. MTC has contracted with Motorola and ERG Limited to implement and operate the ‘TransLink’ fare-collection system.