Most San Francisco Bay Area residents have heard of "Fas Trak" but a smaller group has heard of the "Clipper" card.
Clipper is an all-in-one transit card that keeps track of passes, discount tickets, ride books and cash value that you load onto it, while recognizing and applying all applicable fares, discounts and transfer rules. It is now accepted on Muni, BART, AC Transit, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, and SamTrans.
Named for the clipper ships whose speed revolutionized travel from the East Coast to Gold Rush-era California, the Clipper card gives you quick access to all major forms of Bay Area transit with one easy-to-use card.The card allows you carry only one card for most Bay Area transit services such as Caltrain, BART, SamTrans, VTA, AC Transit, SFMTA, and most ferries. You can either carry cash balances and apply the balance to all of the transit systems (similar to paying cash), or you can load on passes. So if you currently carry a VTA Adult Flash Pass this can be converted to the Clipper form.
The true value of a Clipper card will be in extending the universality of the card. Not only would it be convenient for any payments within Bay Area Transit systems, but the other outlying systems as well. Why not the ability to use it on the San Jose to Santa Cruz route 17 bus, the San Jose to Monterrey MST route 55, or the MST route 79 bus to the Monterrey Presidio. Other excellent uses would be:
- the proposed Bay Area bikeshare system
- bike lockers at Bay Area BART and Caltrain stations or even
- car share systems (City Car Share or GetAround)