The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, BART, and all other transit agencies that use the Clipper® fare payment system have started a two-year pilot program to evaluate the effects of a single pass that will give 50,000 Bay Area residents free access to all bus, rail, and ferry services in the nine-county area. Clipper BayPass transit card
Known as the Clipper® BayPass, the new passes initially will be distributed to participating students at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, the University of California’s Berkeley campus and Santa Rosa Junior College, and then expanded to include residents of select affordable housing communities managed by MidPen Housing. While the Clipper BayPass will be made available to all students at Santa Rosa Junior College, about a quarter of students at the other campuses will be invited to participate in the pilot.
Some students will pay using a different method, such as a regular adult Clipper card, an EasyPass for AC Transit buses from U.C. Berkeley, or a Gator Pass from San Francisco State that allows for free Muni and SamTrans travel as well as discounted BART costs. This random assignment-based limited distribution is intended to assess how an all-system pass affects travel as compared to students who do not use Clipper BayPass. A Clipper BayPass will be provided to each tenant of participating MidPen Housing buildings.
“One of the big takeaways from the Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force convened early in the Covid-19 pandemic is the urgency of making Bay Area transit simpler and more seamless,” explained MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza. “Clipper BayPass is a great way to get real-world data on the role fare coordination can play in meeting those goals. We’ll use the information collected to help shape the development, pricing and implementation of one or more new multi-agency passes or fare caps that eventually will be used by vastly more riders.” Clipper BayPass transit card
Pilot program participants will be able to use Clipper BayPass for unlimited travel on:
- SFMTA (Muni)
- AC Transit
- Golden Gate Transit
- Golden Gate Ferry
- Dumbarton Express
- Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST)
- Marin Transit
- Petaluma Transit
- Santa Rosa CityBus
- Sonoma County Transit
- San Francisco Bay Ferry
- County Connection
- Tri Delta Transit
- Union City Transit
- Vacaville City Coach
“This pilot program is an exciting step toward fare coordination among transit agencies and toward making it easy for organizations to prioritize and promote transit as the preferred mode of transportation in the Bay Area,” said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman. “Studying a regional fare pass using students and residents of affordable housing communities makes clear our commitment to building a more equitable fare system.”
Clipper BayPass is the first initiative to be implemented based on recommendations of the Coordination/Integration Study and Business Case, an 18-month study led by MTC and BART that focused on creating a more customer-friendly transit fare system in the Bay Area and was conducted in partnership with all other Bay Area transit agencies.
MTC will provide funds to transit agencies to offset the revenue impacts of the Clipper BayPass pilot, which is expected to conclude at the end of 2024.
Participants in the BayPass program will continue to use their Clipper cards — either traditional plastic cards or Clipper cards on their smartphones or Apple Watch — to tag on (or off) at fare gates, on buses, on rail platforms or at ferry ramps. Aside from traveling at no charge, the Clipper BayPass will function like any other Clipper card. The Clipper BayPass may not be shared with family or friends; it may be used only by participants selected for the pilot program, and any violators will be removed from the program.
MTC is the transportation planning, funding and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC operates the Clipper system on behalf of the region’s transit agencies.
The digital Clipper card was made available to Apple users in April 2021 and to Android users in May 2021.