Except the side effect is that there's no unified payment card, like the Smartrip card. Well, rather, BART accepts some sort of EZcard, similar to the smartrip card (same hardware?), but there's also Translink, which is now finally being rolled out to the Caltrain (and has been enabled on the BART side too?).
Unfortunately, I can't find any sort of fare chart for the Caltrain side of Translink - so I'm not sure it's worthwhile going with nifty technology. They're still rolling it out, but hey, it's been a week. Come on, get your act together. I want to use the shiny new toy.
For now, I'm assuming it'll cost me more than my current system, which is to buy an 8-ride pass from zone 3 to zone 3, and then tack on Zone Upgrades as necessary. The 8-ride pass, since it's zone 3 to zone 3, effectively grants me travel in any direction within zone 3 (from redwood city to sunnyvale) for about 4 hours. Zone Upgrades don't provide any sort of savings, and are technically "one way only", but there's no real way for them to verify that, as far as I can tell. (Theoretically, I could use a zone upgrade + zone 3 to 3 and travel from zone 2 to 4... they don't check tickets often enough to catch that, I think.)
Mrf. I miss my smartrip card... I lent it to visiting relatives, and either I never got it back, or it's back at home in Maryland... T.T I'm being silly though - it's not like I could use it here.
I wonder if the Translink card has any flaws... it sounds like an mishmash of stuff, since it needs to store separate values for the 8-ride status, monthly status, card value, etc. We're assuming value is stored on the card and only updated at online stations - since buses and such aren't guaranteed to be online. Would need to get a card reader, which... blargh. Downsides of being such a lazy engineer. Oh well, I've got to finish this book on Network Intrusion Detection anyhow. I've enough to do already...