Beginning September, new Adult Clipper® cards will cost $3. As an incentive for customers to try automatically reloading their Clipper cards, Clipper will waive the $3 fee for customers who sign up for the Autoload feature when they order a card online at clippercard.com.
The new $3 fee is only for new Adult Clipper cards; Youth and Senior Clipper cards remain free, and the fee for a Regional Transit Connection Clipper card, for transit riders with qualifying disabilities, remains $3. At the same time as instituting the $3 fee, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which is spearheading the Clipper fare card, is in most cases waiving the requirement for a $5 minimum balance for newly issued Clipper cards. However, a minimum balance remains in effect when new Clipper cards are acquired through ticket vending machines. In the case of San Francisco Muni, ticket vending machines will require a minimum load of $5 on new cards (on top of the $3 card fee), while Golden Gate Ferry fare machines will impose a $10 minimum load (on top of the $3 card fee).
Clipper is the reloadable card that allows Bay Area transit riders to load cash value and monthly passes over the phone, online at clippercard.com and at a variety of retail locations, including most Bay Area Walgreens stores. Clipper is accepted on San Francisco Muni, BART, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, Caltrain, SamTrans, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Dumbarton Express, and San Francisco Bay Ferry (currently only on the South San Francisco/East Bay route).
Clipper cards have been free since the transit card program launched in June 2010. Clipper provided the cards free of charge over the past two years as an incentive for the hundreds of thousands of Bay Area transit riders to try the card. The incentive appears to have been successful, with more than 15 million trips taken using Clipper cards in July 2012. On an average weekday, transit riders take more than 600,000 trips using the card.
“We want to encourage people to keep their cards, reload them automatically and use them for a long time, rather than throwing them out and getting new ones,” said Carol Kuester, director of MTC’s Electronic Payment section. “Charging a fee for the card also helps us be better stewards of public funds.”
Clipper offers convenience by keeping track of passes, discount tickets, ride books and cash value that customers load onto it, while automatically applying all applicable fares, discounts and transfer rules. Since Clipper cards can be registered for added security, customers whose cards are lost or stolen can have their card replaced and balance restored for a fee. Clipper customers with questions about their Clipper account can log in to their accounts at clippercard.com or call Clipper Customer Service.