it's so ridiculous that with the right software changes we would all be praising the clipper transition instead of cursing it
Spurred on by me forgetting to tag off on a Southbound trip in the AM, at which point it's impossible to go to Gilroy, yet being charged a Gilroy trip.
Clipper's primary failure is modeling an electronic system after the paper one. So it inherits the shortcomings of both
Part of what Ammon is getting at here is this. I can ride from Millbrae to Mountain View (20+ miles) for the same amount of money as he pays riding from San Bruno to Broadway to grab a sandwich (4 miles). When BART came online with their distance based fares, they did so because the whole thing is "tag on/tag off". Now that Caltrain with Clipper works that way, they could obsolete the zone system completely and just charge by distance. The zone based system that made paper tickets easier to check, was kept despite going to an electronic ticketing system for which a zone based system wouldn't make sense in the first place.
This also applies to things like 8 ride tickets - also an artifact of paper ticketing. Instead of 8 ride tickets, Caltrain could simply apply discounts for riders who ride a certain amount in a certain timeframe - maxing out at the price of a monthly pass.
I think the concept of buying a monthly pass needs to be kept around - where riders don't need to tag on or off, because of the limited availability of translink readers at stations (Pass holders don't have to tag on or off).