The Clipper Card is a reloadable multi-purpose ticketing service that Muni, Bart, Caltrain, VTA, and ACTranisit have been using since 2010. SamTrans, however, has only introduced the service to modernize and replace the paper pass system.
As of Jan. 1 of this year, monthly SamTrans passes can only be obtained by purchasing a CLIPPER card and loading it with money.
Lev Gamaley voiced her opinion on the subject, “it saves you when you’re out of cash”.
Clipper cards can be purchased from participating retailers or ordered directly from Clipper’s website.
Youth and Senior discounted cards can only be obtained by going in person to Clipper’s customer service center or going to a participating transit service office.
A touted feature of the Cards is the fact that they are electronically re-loadable, which can be done online on Clipper’s website, at a Clipper ticket machine, or in person at Clipper’s customer service center (or the office of a participating transit agency). If done online, Clipper cards require 3-5 days to update.
“It’s really efficient-it’s better than the old paper passes,” commented Antonio Baltodano.
The Clipper Card was first introduced by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the local transit planning agency for the Bay Area) in 2002 as TransLink. It was re-branded in 2010 as part of an effort to increase ridership and users of transit services in the Bay Area.
The Clipper Card itself was developed by the ERG Group and Motorola, but is now owned by Cubic Transportation Systems out of San Deigo.