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Clipper Card Commotion Today


Here’s a problem I just encountered today: I rode my regular commute bus heading to San Francisco from my home in Novato when after just a few stops, the Clipper card machine suddenly went “DC Not Responding” — and it’s a bad thing for me. Why? I cannot tag out from my bus! And if I can’t tag out, Clipper will charge me the highest possible fare for my commute today, which is $7.76 instead of $4.92 (a $2.64 difference!) Fortunately, I called Clipper customer service and told them about my latest dilemma, and I will make sure to call them tomorrow to adjust what they’ll take out from my card.

Clipper card is a form of a “smart touch card” that allows me to travel without the need for cash, and with it, I get good discounts from my commutes. The perks include:

  • 20% off regular rates for all Golden Gate Transit (pictured below) 
  • 30% off regular rates for Golden Gate Ferry services
  • It allows my card to become a “unified” transit pass of its own (I can load it up with a Muni FastPass with BART or AC Transit 31-Day Pass)
  • It automatically provides me with a “transfer” that will allow me to transfer to any bus (either within the same agency or between agencies) with the alloted time limit (and even giving me discounts for doing so) — a comparison on the top picture shows a paper transfer for Muni versus the Clipper Card itself
  • It allows me to save a lot of money while saving the environment from throwing away paper transfers after one or multiple uses for the same day.

Currently, seven transit agencies offer the option of paying fares with the Clipper card, including:

  • AC Transit (top, right)
  • BART (bottom, left)
  • Caltrain (not pictured)
  • Golden Gate Transit and Ferry (top, center)
  • Muni (bottom, right)
  • SamTrans (top, left)
  • Santa Clara VTA (not pictured)

The best part: I don’t need to think about how much cash I’ll need to feed the fare box or find the transfer I’ll show to the driver just to ride the bus; instead, I tap the card* and find a seat. It’s that easy! However, when a machine doesn’t work, similar to earlier, it can be a different story that can become a bad situation for both me and the driver (I will discuss later on Nightline). With this commute card, however, not only I save money from paying the full adult fare, it also allows me to save the environment and save time from lining up just to pay my fare.

The Clipper Card: a wonderful way to commute the Bay. More information on the card here

Note: * – for some transit agencies, including BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, and SamTrans express services, a passenger must tap the card twice: once when boarding the vehicle, the other when disembarking, in which the appropriate fare will be calculated instead of being charged the full fare.

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