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Clipper® START Program Offers Discounts on Transit

Pilot Program Extended Through July 2023
Noah Berger

The Clipper START® pilot program provides fare discounts to adults with lower incomes for single rides on 21 transit systems around the Bay Area. The program is administered by MTC in partnership with Bay Area transit agencies.

Who Can Apply?

Bay Area residents ages 19-64 with a household income of up to 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply. For a family of four, this means an annual household income of no more than $53,000. More details can be found at’s FAQ page.

Visit the website to apply. Applicants will need to provide one of the following as proof of household income:

  • A copy of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card;
  • A copy of a Medi-Cal card;
  • A county benefits eligibility letter;
  • A Muni Lifeline card number;
  • Or a copy of the most recent federal tax return.

Once approved, participants will receive a personalized Clipper card that must be loaded with cash value before use.

What Are the Discounts?

Participants receive a 50% or 20% fare discount, depending on the transit operator:

Discount level by agency
50% Discount 20% Discount 20% Discount
Caltrain AC Transit Santa Rosa CityBus
Golden Gate Transit and Ferry BART SolTrans
Marin Transit City Coach Sonoma County Transit
Muni County Connection Tri Delta Transit
SamTrans FAST Union City Transit
San Francisco Bay Ferry Napa VINE WestCAT
SMART Petaluma Transit Wheels

How Is It Used?

Clipper START works just like a regular Clipper card – simply tag and go on buses, trains and ferries around the Bay Area. Discounts are automatically applied on single rides on participating transit systems.

The Clipper App

Clipper START works on the new Clipper app – available for Android and Apple devices. You just transfer your plastic card to your wallet on your phone. Get more details at Clipper on Your Phone. In addition to paying with your phone, the Clipper app lets you plan your trip, too.

Other Transit Discounts

Clipper also has discounts for:

Clipper START, the RTC Clipper card, and youth and senior cards are all part of MTC’s commitment to making public transit accessible for all Bay Area residents.

About Clipper START

Clipper START is a pilot program that was launched in 2020 by MTC to provide discounts to reduce the cost of transportation for adults with low incomes. Transportation is typically one of a household’s biggest expenses, and Clipper START aims to make public transit more affordable for more people.

MTC recently extended the Clipper START pilot program through July 2023 to allow more time for evaluation of the pilot as more people return to transit. This extension also will benefit more people while also encouraging increased transit ridership.

Clipper START runs on the Clipper card fare payment system. MTC operates the Clipper system on behalf of the region’s transit agencies.

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