PRN: Clipper® Card to Incorporate New Bay Area Transit Fare Increases

Clipper® Card to Incorporate New Bay Area Transit Fare Increases

Electronic Fare-Payment System Offers Seamless Travel

[29-June-2012]
OAKLAND, Calif., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A number of Bay Area transit systems will be adjusting fares and fare policies this summer, and the Clipper® regional fare payment system is gearing up to automatically incorporate those changes.

“The Clipper card makes travel seamless for transit riders throughout the Bay Area,” said Project Manager Carol Kuester. “If you have a Clipper card, you’ll find the new fares pre-calculated for you.”

Examples of the changes include:

  • Beginning with July 2012 passes, San Francisco Muni monthly passes are increasing by $2 for adults. New Adult Fast Passes (which offer unlimited rides on all Muni vehicles and can also be used to ride BART within San Francisco) will be $74 and new Adult Muni-only Passes will be $64. Muni Passes for youth, seniors and disabled riders will increase by $1— from $21 to $22;
  • BART fares are increasing by an average of 5 cents per trip starting in July 2012;
  • On July 1, 2012, Golden Gate Transit Bus and Golden Gate Ferry regional fares will increase by 5 percent;
  • Caltrain 8-ride ticket prices will increase on July 1, 2012 (with the amount depending on the zones traveled), and the validity period of Caltrain 8-ride tickets will be reduced from 60 to 30 days. Caltrain + Muni pass prices will increase by $2 beginning with the July pass;
  • This June, July and August, SamTrans monthly Youth Passes can be purchased for $22, a discount of $14 per month. Monthly passes will return to the standard $36 in September.

In addition to San Francisco Muni, BART, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, Caltrain and SamTrans, Clipper is accepted on AC Transit, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the Dumbarton Express, and San Francisco Bay Ferry (currently only on the South San Francisco/East Bay route).

Clipper customers who take advantage of employee transit benefits should confirm that their benefits cover any upcoming price increases. For example, customers who have funds deducted from their paychecks should make sure that the deductions are sufficient to cover the price increases. Customers with “autoload” accounts should verify that the funding source linked to the Clipper card has a sufficient monthly balance to cover the price increases.

For more information about these and other fare changes, transit riders can call 511 or use 511.org.

Clipper customers with questions about their Clipper account can log in to their accounts at clippercard.com or call Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883.

Introduced in June 2010, Clipper accounted for 625,000 average weekday transactions during May 2012, which amounts to nearly half of all transit rides in the Bay Area. There are 1,166,000 active Clipper cards in circulation as of May 31, 2012.

Clipper is a project of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

SOURCE Metropolitan Transportation Commission

PRN: Multi-Axle Vehicle Tolls Go Up Sunday

Multi-Axle Vehicle Tolls Go Up Sunday

Final Phase of Two-Step Increase

[29-June-2012]
OAKLAND, Calif., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reminds drivers of big-rig trucks, cars and trucks hauling trailers, and other vehicles or combinations with more than two axles that the second step in the two-phase toll increase approved in 2010 for multi-axle vehicles on Bay Area toll bridges takes effect Sunday, July 1. The first step in the toll increase took effect in July 2011.

Beginning July 1, 2012, tolls for vehicles or combinations with three or more axles on the seven state-owned toll bridges will be fully indexed at $5 times the number of axles, or $15 for three-axle vehicles; $20 for four axles; $25 for five axles; $30 for six axles; and $35 for rigs with seven or more axles. The fully indexed toll rate on the Golden Gate Bridge will be $6 times the number of axles, with a $5-per-axle rate for FasTrak® customers.

BATA approved the two-step increase in tolls for multi-axle vehicles on the state-owned bridges in January 2010 as part of a comprehensive toll increase package to finance seismic retrofits of the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges, to help offset the increased cost of debt financing resulting from financial market turmoil that began in 2007, and to counter revenue losses caused by a decline in toll-paying traffic on the bridges since fiscal year 2003-04. While the toll hike for most vehicles went into effect in July 2010, the Authority voted to delay the increase for multi-axle vehicles for one year and then implement the new toll schedule in two steps. This phased approach was designed to allow commercial trucking firms to incorporate the higher tolls into new contracts with shippers. These contracts typically carry 18- to 24-month terms.

California state law (Streets & Highways Code Sec. 30150.2) requires that tolls on state-owned toll bridges be based on the number of axles on a vehicle or the total number of axles on a vehicle plus the total number of axles on a drawn trailer or vehicle.

BATA encourages all motorists — including drivers of big-rig trucks and recreational vehicles —to take advantage of the FasTrak electronic toll collection program to make toll payment easier and more convenient. FasTrak can be used in all lanes at all Bay Area toll plazas. FasTrak toll tags are available at Costco, Safeway and Walgreens stores throughout the Bay Area. Customers also can enroll in the FasTrak program online (at 511.org or bayareafastrak.org), by telephone (dial 511 and ask for “FasTrak” at the first prompt), or in person at the FasTrak customer service center at 475 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. Currently, there are more than 1 million FasTrak account holders in the Bay Area.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers toll revenues from the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Toll revenues from the Golden Gate Bridge are administered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which joined with BATA to operate a single regional FasTrak customer service center in San Francisco. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

See toll schedule for state-owned toll bridges here: http://bata.mtc.ca.gov/tolls/schedule.htm

SOURCE Bay Area Toll Authority

PRN: PG&E Provides Top-to-Bottom Look At Natural Gas Safety Actions

PG&E Provides Top-to-Bottom Look At Natural Gas Safety Actions

Utility Files Roadmap to Becoming an Industry Leader in Safety, Reliability

[29-June-2012]
SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A 45-page report that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will file today with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides a comprehensive overview of what the company is doing to make sure its natural gas pipelines are safe and reliable.

The document, called the Gas Safety Plan, highlights current and committed work and connects the dots among all of PG&E’s efforts to ensure safe and reliable operations of its gas system. It addresses PG&E’s culture, risk management, training, compliance, records, pipeline maintenance and modernization, emergency planning, and how the utility incorporates and measures safety in all of these areas.

“What we filed today is PG&E’s roadmap to becoming one of the nation’s safest gas utilities,” said Nick Stavropoulos, the utility’s executive vice president of gas operations. “We can hand this document to Commissioners with confidence and say that it represents input from all levels of gas employees as well as direction from the National Transportation Safety Board, outside experts, industry associations, and other regulators.”

The plan stems from Senate Bill 705, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2011. California’s gas corporations are required to provide periodic updates on their gas system safety actions.

Stavropoulos called attention to several sections:

  • Culture: The report speaks to PG&E’s renewed vow of creating a “safety first” culture in which public and employee safety is the highest priority and employees feel empowered to share and act on safety concerns. “Every single one of us is responsible for safety,” said Stavropoulos, who took the reins of PG&E’s gas operations a year ago.
  • Training: PG&E’s plan to ensure that its workforce is highly skilled and experienced includes building a technologically advanced training facility—targeted for completion in 2015—that provides hands-on learning experiences in “real world” scenarios.
  • Hiring: PG&E estimates that its gas organization will grow by approximately 1,400 people by the end of 2014 to support the focus on safety and compliance. Already the gas operations team has restructured, placing resources where they’re needed most and establishing clear lines of accountability.
  • Emergency readiness: PG&E plans to move the gas transmission control center, distribution control center and dispatch center into one facility by mid-2013. Having all three functions side-by-side will result in a tightly coordinated front line for system awareness and emergency response, Stavropoulos said.

The plan recognizes that it will take time for PG&E to achieve its vision of becoming an industry leader in safety and reliability.

“But we’ve got our eye on that target, we’re acting with urgency and we don’t plan to let up,” Stavropoulos said. “Becoming one of the nation’s safest utilities isn’t some pie-in-the-sky idea. The monumental progress we’ve made over the past two years shows we know how to get things done. Our Gas Safety Plan proves we know what more we need to do.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Company Codes: NYSE:PCG

PRN: Dr. Fred Naraghi of San Francisco, CA is Honored as a Compassionate Doctor

Dr. Fred Naraghi of San Francisco, CA is Honored as a Compassionate Doctor

[29-June-2012]
After tallying hundreds of thousands of patient reviews, Dr. Fred Naraghi of San Francisco, CA has been identified as one of our nation’s Most Compassionate Doctors.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Patients’ Choice has announced that Dr. Fred Naraghi has been named a Compassionate Doctor honoree for 2011.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120629/DC33384)

In 2011, nearly 100 million patients across the United States used websites including Vitals.com, PatientsChoice.org, and UCompareHealthCare.com to provide feedback about experiences with their physicians, rating them on various aspects of the care they provide.

The Patients’ Choice annual Compassionate Doctor recognition program honors the top 3% of U.S. physicians, including Dr. Naraghi, whose patients have gone out of their way to give them the highest possible ratings in the category of bedside manner, while also ranking them very highly in five other categories.

The basis of this award – a doctor’s bedside manner score – is particularly important, because it conveys the level of comfort a patient feels. Medical research has shown that the more comfortable a patient is with his doctor, the more likely he is to disclose all important health information and follow a prescribed treatment plan, thus leading to a better outcome.

“While many physicians receive positive feedback from patients, relatively few receive such high praise about the compassion that accompanies their care,” said Erika Boyer, Vice President of Consumer Research at Patients’ Choice. “We congratulate Dr. Naraghi on this achievement.”

About Dr. Fred Naraghi: a short profile by and about the honoree:

We believe that every patient is unique and deserves personal attention. Dr. Naraghi believes in providing excellent medical care with personal attention. Dr. Naraghi is an experienced spine surgeon and along with his caring staff provide personalized, top quality medical care to each and every patient. Going alongside our commitment to first finding out the best treatment for you and your condition, we know that if you are a surgical candidate we will most likely be able to reduce or improve your pain. Dr. Naraghi will provide the most optimal results and an honest opinion.

For more information on Dr. Fred Naraghi you may visit Dr. Naraghi’s profile on PatientsChoice.org, or call the doctor’s office directly at 415-922-1500, or visit the doctor’s own website at DrFredNaraghi.com.

This press release was written by American Registry, LLC, with approval by and/or contributions from Dr. Naraghi, and was distributed by PR Newswire, a subsidiary of UBM.

Patients’ Choice provides in depth information on doctors in your area who have been recognized and awarded for outstanding patient care and expertise. The Compassionate Doctor recognition is the honor roll of physicians who have received the highest bedside manner and overall ratings by their patients.

American Registry, LLC, recognizes excellence in top businesses and professionals. The Registry™ includes over 2 million significant business and professional recognitions. For more information, search The Registry at http://www.americanregistry.com. An exclusive recognition plaque designed to commemorate the doctor’s honor is shown here.

Contact Information:
Dr. Fred Naraghi
Phone: 415-922-1500
Email Address: DrNaraghiOffice

SOURCE American Registry

PRN: Over One Billion Zlango Messages Delivered Since October Launch

Over One Billion Zlango Messages Delivered Since October Launch

Integrates Content Rich Images in Text-Messaging, Leading Fast Growing Evolution of Mobile-Messaging

[29-June-2012]
SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –Zlango, the pioneering leader in image-rich mobile messaging, today announced Android market penetration of its mobile-messaging app hitting over 1 billion text- messages exchanged by Zlango users since its October 2011 U.S. launch. Users add personalization and visual expression to every-day texting with Zlango’s high-impact images. Zlango’s demonstrated success on the Android platform has paved the way for the evolution of text messaging, as traditional text-messaging is being replaced by more expressive options.

Zlango is leading the fast-growing movement of revolutionizing the way individuals communicate via text-messaging. Milestones since Zlango’s launch Q4, 2011 include:

  • 1.25 billion messages delivered using Zlango for the Android.
  • In May, 221 million messages delivered monthly, more than 7 million messages daily-with month-to-month growth.
  • 110 messages sent on average each month by active Zlango users.

Zlango’s quick growth is fueled by consumers’ need to communicate how they want, whenever they want. Its popular Virtual Goods Store for mobile messaging contains text-messaging icon packs designed to reflect spoken language, jargon and popular culture. Users can communicate with image-rich icons for any occasion, with image packs and premium offerings including Freestyle, Fantasy, GTL, Hitched, Anime, Western, Ocean, India and branded “Terminator 2” and “The Walking Dead” icon packs. Zlango users can integrate personal style, expression and culture into their everyday communication.

“Zlango’s image-rich text-messaging is directly connected with the continued growth of the mobile market, with over 100 million U.S. smart phone users looking for ways to communicate in new and innovative ways,” said Roni Haim, CEO, Zlango. “Bringing our unique image-rich expression to the massive mobile market lets Zlango users communicate with personalized expression —and puts us at the forefront of mobile-messaging developments. With such great success on the Android platform, we are looking forward to expanding to other platforms and continuing to drive the text-messaging development.”

With support for more than 25 languages and deployment in over 20 countries, Zlango is increasingly becoming the preferred enhanced messaging service throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S.

The app is coming soon for Apple iOS – stay Tuned in July for the official iPhone launch.

Useful links:
See demo of Zlango here.
Zlango can be downloaded for free from Google Play here.
See Zlango with the Virtual Goods store in action in this .
To learn more about Zlango unique text messaging solutions, visit www.zlango.com.

About Zlango
Zlango is leading the evolution of texting with image-rich, emotionally engaging messaging that reflects spoken language, slang and culture. Zlango enhances words with sequential animated icons, creating a better texting experience, with advanced messaging features that combine fun, color and personal expression. Localized for each market’s language, slang and culture, Zlango’s platform and niche themed packs and Skinz™, including The Walking Dead and Terminator 2 among other branded and exclusive packs of images for mobile messaging, are updated regularly with fresh new content. Zlango offer hundreds of unique icons and SkinZ™ for free, in addition to an exclusive range of premium content from the Virtual Store inside the Zlango messaging application. Zlango also enables image-rich updates direct to Facebook and Twitter via the ZlangOut feature inside the application. Available direct to consumers in the US, and via ma jor mobile operators and content providers around the world, Zlango supports hundreds of Android, Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry, and J2ME devices. Zlango is localized in 25+ languages across 20 countries and currently has over 5 million active users who deliver over 200 million mobile messages monthly in the US alone. For more information, visit www.zlango.com.

SOURCE Zlango

PRN: Aurasma Turns One – Celebrates with 6,000 Partners and 4 Million Downloads

Aurasma Turns One – Celebrates with 6,000 Partners and 4 Million Downloads

Company releases augmented reality infographic that comes to life using free Aurasma app

[29-June-2012]
SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Aurasma, the world’s leading augmented reality platform, today announced that just one year after its official launch, the company has worked with more than 6,000 partners to deliver augmented reality (AR) campaigns and promotions across multiple industries including publishing, music & film, fashion, automotive, sports, education, retail and tourism. The company also announced that its free Aurasma Lite app or partner branded apps have been downloaded more than 4 million times in more than 100 countries. The company estimates it will reach the 10,000 partner mark by the end of the year.

Aurasma also released an augmented infographic (http://www.aurasma.com/resources/images/first_birthday_infographic.jpg ) to mark one year from its official launch. When viewed with the free Aurasma app, the infographic comes to life with animated digital content and video and can be triggered from print or from the screen.

Aurasma partners gain valuable insight into campaign effectiveness by collecting quantifiable results that measure the number of “aura” views and click-through rates (CTRs) directly correlated to a print advertisement or marketing promotion. As such, companies and organizations across multiple industries share excitement for the new opportunities provided by Aurasma and augmented reality:

  • “The music industry is constantly looking for the best technologies to connect with fans and to sell more records. Augmented reality is a great way of converging the old with new and to shorten the path to purchase,” said Steven Abraham, executive vice president of MediaCom LA. “Print is brought to life with AR. We have worked with Aurasma on a bunch of Universal Music Group label campaign launches for label artists as well as using it in other categories, such as travel with Crystal Cruises. Besides the obvious thrill factor of the user experience, Aurasma’s ability to measure an offline interaction into an online touchpoint helps clients see the bottom-line value of leveraging augmented reality to drive engagement and conversion.”
  • “Marvel AR provides endless possibilities to give fans what they’ve been asking for: a richer experience with their favorite comics and creators. Working with Aurasma has allowed us to deliver an unparalleled experience to our fans worldwide,” said Kristin Vincent, director of product strategy, Marvel Entertainment. “Their technology allows us to innovate in ways that ensure we offer a compelling product that continues to not only grow in popularity, but also change the way people read comics as part of the Marvel ReEvolution.”
  • “As one of the first newspapers in the U.S. to embrace augmented reality to engage with readers, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is at the cutting edge of traditional print and advanced technology,” said Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Aurasma gave us the capability to get far more out of the printed newspaper pages by delivering interactive content to our readers through a customized app. So far, the response has been terrific.”
  • “Technologies like Aurasma are allowing us to significantly enrich our readers’ experience, giving them the opportunity to see the technologies and ideas of the future in action,” said Jake Ward, Popular Science editor in chief. “Our first Aurasma-powered PopSci Interactive app was a hit with our readers, and they can expect to see even more dynamic-enhanced features in the issues to come.”
  • “By leveraging Aurasma’s augmented reality platform in a cross-disciplinary environment, students in my spring 2012 independent study discovered that they could tell stories in a radically new way, whether their own particular area of expertise was coding, designing, reporting, advertising or shooting video,” said Charles ‘Stretch’ Ledford, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Illinois College of Media. “The end result, our Virtual Dugout mobile app, is a powerful and fun conduit for anyone in the world to connect with the Illini baseball team. For the students, it was 16 weeks of hard work and towering expectations. For the Illini baseball fans who watch Aurasma transform the team’s baseball cards into videos of the players, it’s simply magic.”

Launched in June 2011, Aurasma is the only company to ever win the DEMOgod Award and also be voted as the People’s Choice Award winner in the same year at DEMO 2011. In addition to being honored as CNET’s Best of CES finalist last January, the company also won the “Best AR App” and the coveted “Best Overall AR” award at the 2012 AR Summit this month.

  • “In the last year, augmented reality has moved beyond being a curiosity and has hit the mainstream,” said Jennifer Rapp, general manager at Aurasma. “Not only are businesses leveraging Aurasma to connect with customers and build sticky brands, but everyday people are embracing Aurasma’s in-app features to create their own virtual worlds, from launching personalized videos triggered by their holiday cards to creating engaging curricula at elementary schools. Aurasma is changing the way we consume information and soon every industry will have a virtual world tied to it.”

Aurasma Lite for iPhones, iPads and Android devices is available from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. The free Aurasma app runs on iPhone 3GS (and above), iPad2 (and above), and high-powered Android devices.

Helpful Links:

About Aurasma:

Aurasma is the world’s leading augmented reality platform that merges the physical world with the virtual. Available as a free app for iPhones, iPads and high-powered Android devices or as a free kernel for developers, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to recognize and understand real-world images and objects in much the same way as the human brain does. It then seamlessly blends the real-world with rich interactive content such as videos and animations called “Auras.” Auras can be created for printed images, product packaging, clothing, physical places and users can even use the app to create and share their own.

Since its launch in June 2011, Aurasma has had more than four million downloads in over 100 countries. Over 6,000 partners in markets including retail, fashion, sport, automotive, consumer electronics, entertainment, advertising and publishing are using the free technology in their campaigns, on their products or embedding the technology in their own applications. Aurasma was developed by and is part of software company Autonomy – an HP Company.

SOURCE Aurasma

PRN: 2600hz Launches New Service Kazoo BETA – A Free Business Cloud Phone System, with Developer APIs

2600hz Launches New Service Kazoo BETA – A Free Business Cloud Phone System, with Developer APIs

Kazoo BETA equips every business with five free seats on a complete enterprise cloud PBX and provides developers an API toolset to access and integrate a full suite of telephony features.

[29-June-2012]
SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Building off the success of their flagship product Whistle, cloud communications company 2600hz today announced their newest service Kazoo BETA, a visual PBX with a complete suite of enterprise features powered on Kazoo, their distributed cloud telecom platform. On the back-end, Kazoo provides an API toolset giving developers full access to integrate and control all features of the platform. With both offerings, 2600hz enables users to control and customize their own communication systems from the browser.

In an environment where hundreds of new companies are born every day, young companies struggle to appear legitimate when facing potential clients and users. Kazoo eliminates that problem from the communication standpoint.

“After a short introduction to the interface, we literally never hear from the customer again. Kazoo keeps our call load down, so we can cut back on support hours. Learning a PBX in 30 minutes would be impossible with any other provider because the Kazoo interface is completely drag and drop. It doesn’t get easier than that. We’re showing the customer exactly the same tools we’re using, and they love it,” said 2600hz customer Joseph Mordica, CEO of Comtel Connect.

Kazoo BETA gives end users the power to visualize and edit their own communication system. It’s complete with drag and drop call flows, auto-attendant menus, conference bridges and over 40 standard VoIP features such as voicemail-to-email and dynamic caller ID.

Kazoo Office BETA includes several key features such as:

  • Full VoIP Features – All the VoIP features that businesses enjoy such as voicemail-to-email, auto-attendants, and syncing across multiple devices are included with no extra fees.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – connect any cellphone, analog phone or VoIP device – Users can connect any of their favorite devices (including existing Polycom, Cisco, Android and other SIP devices) and be in touch from wherever they are.
  • Intuitive interface for easy control – An easy to use graphical interface allows any user to view, edit and manage their own settings on Kazoo without waiting on an IT consultant.

“New companies often need the professional look and feel early on that enterprises attain only after years of being in business. With Kazoo BETA, businesses can use one system to gain all the necessary enterprise features rather than using a makeshift combination of free conference call bridges, Skype and personal cell phones,” said co-founder and CEO Darren Schreiber.

Unlike other free services like Google Voice and Skype, Kazoo doesn’t limit the user to a softphone since a majority of today’s users still use a physical desktop phone at work. Any device—cellphone, analog phone, softphone or VoIP device can be connected to Kazoo. “We are also giving developers backend-as-a-service APIs to the features of the system that they can use as the building blocks for their applications.”

Businesses and Developers can sign up for Kazoo BETA on http://kazoo.io to get an invitation and early access.

About 2600hz

2600hz, the creators of Kazoo, focus on removing the barriers between users and their telecom systems. Kazoo is a cloud communications platform that makes it easy for users to take control of their own system with a simple drag and drop interface, instantly allowing you to create, edit and comprehend your phone system without being a telecom expert. Kazoo also makes it easy for developers to create telecom applications with open access to Kazoo APIs. Whether it be voice, video, fax or SMS, 2600hz simplifies and opens the cryptic black box of telecom. Based in San Francisco, California, 2600hz is a privately owned company. For more information, visit http://www.2600hz.com or follow 2600hz on http://twitter.com/2600hertz.

SOURCE 2600hz