MTC’s Operations Committee today approved a $1.7 million contract with Cubic Transportation Services, Inc. to provide customer service and eligibility verification for Clipper START, the region’s means-based fare discount pilot program scheduled to launch in spring 2020.
For most Bay Area households, transportation is the third-largest monthly expense, trailing only the cost of housing and food. To help serve the region’s low-income transit riders, MTC last year approved a means-based transit fare pilot program – dubbed Clipper START. The program is designed to:
- Make transit more affordable for the Bay Area’s low-income residents;
- Establish a more consistent regional standard for fare discount policies; and
- Define a transit affordability solution that is financially viable, administratively feasible and does not adversely affect the transit system’s service levels and performance.
BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, and SFMTA are the transit agencies participating in Clipper START. Adults who earn up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (approximately $50,000 per year for a family of four) are eligible through the program for a 20 percent fare discount on each single-ride BART and Caltrain trip, and a 50 percent discount on each single ride trip taken on SFMTA, and Golden Gate Transit or Golden Gate Ferry. The transit fare discount will be granted automatically when a participant uses their personalized Clipper card to pay a single cash value fare.
The Clipper START program pilot is scheduled to launch in spring 2020 and will run for 18 months. The program will be promoted through social service agencies, community-based organizations and the media.
San Diego-based Cubic has managed the Clipper transit-fare card program for MTC since the program’s launch in 2010. As part of the Clipper START program, Cubic will serve as eligibility verifier and will perform application intake, review and approval as well as customer service functions for program participants. Cubic will be able to leverage years of customer service experience with Clipper customers and provide efficiencies in combining the means-based work with the current Clipper card distribution and customer service efforts.