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Clipper® BayPass Makes Case for Fare Coordination

Pilot Program Evaluates Impact of Pre-paid Passes

As MTC’s pioneering Clipper® BayPass pilot program nears its first anniversary, usage data indicate program participants take some 35 percent more transit trips than their nonparticipating peers, with the 30,000-plus enrollees having used their unlimited travel passes for more than a combined 2 million transit trips through June 30. The Commission teamed with Bay Area transit agencies to launch the two-year pilot last summer to study the impact of a single pass that can be used for unlimited access to all Bay Area bus, rail and ferry services, with the exception of special event services to or from Oracle Park in San Francisco operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry or Golden Gate Ferry.

“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.”

Fare coordination and integration is a cornerstone of the Bay Area Transit Transformation Action Plan adopted by MTC in 2021. Transit agencies in 2024 will expand fare integration with the launch of a pilot program for no-cost and reduced-cost transfers between agencies. Full implementation of the Action Plan will be guided by MTC’s new Regional Network Management Committee, which will hold its inaugural meeting July 14.

Last year’s launch of the Clipper BayPass pilot followed recommendations from an 18-month Transit Fare Coordination/Integration Study and Business Case focused on creating a more customer-friendly Bay Area transit fare system. Distributed initially to students at Santa Rosa Junior College and to randomly selected students at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University and the University of California’s Berkeley campus, Clipper BayPass was later expanded to include residents of several affordable housing communities managed by MidPen Housing. The next phase of the Clipper BayPass will involve partnering with Bay Area employers.

Pilot program participants use Clipper BayPass for unlimited travel on:

  • BART
  • SFMTA (Muni)
  • AC Transit
  • VTA
  • Caltrain
  • SamTrans
  • Golden Gate Transit
  • Golden Gate Ferry
  • San Francisco Bay Ferry
  • County Connection
  • Dumbarton Express
  • FAST
  • Marin Transit
  • Petaluma Transit
  • Santa Rosa CityBus
  • Soltrans
  • Sonoma County Transit
  • Tri Delta Transit
  • Union City Transit
  • Vacaville City Coach
  • VINE
  • WestCAT
  • Wheels

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. Aside from allowing travel at no charge, the Clipper BayPass functions like any other Clipper card. Participants use their Clipper cards — either traditional plastic cards or Clipper cards on their smartphones or Apple Watch — to tag on (or off) at faregates, on buses, on rail platforms or at ferry ramps. The Clipper BayPass may not be shared with family or friends; it may be used only by participants selected for the pilot program.

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