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Monday, August 30, 2010

Muni Paper "A" Fast Pass Users - Get Prepared for Clipper Transition

We are just a couple of months away from the major transition of all Muni "A" paper passes being converted to Clipper cards only. This could mean the public and Clipper are well prepared for the big change, or will go totally nuts by being unprepared.

One of my big rules, always be prepared, and that means to get ready early for the big change. If you currently use a paper "A" Fast Pass, now is the time to get that ball rolling.

Here's a list of items you should plan for:
  • Obtain a card now, not later. If by some odd reason your retail location or a giveaway location runs out of the cards days before the November 1st transition, you are screwed.
  • If you use commuter benefits and get your paper pass mailed to you, ask your HR department or appropriate area how to modify your benefits.
  • Not all locations that sell paper passes will convert to selling Clipper based media (I already noticed one in the Castro). Start researching locations where you can add Clipper passes and e-cash. If use paper commuter vouchers, go to Walgreens, they will accept them.
  • Once you get your card, register it immediately. It will definitely be worth the $5 replacement fee if you ever lose your card.
  • Lastly, learn how to use the card properly. I've provided an excellent guide on everything you need to do.
Good luck!


emironov said...

Maybe you can answer my question. I went to Wallgreens and I purchased a clipper card with a M fastpass on it. However when I get onto Muni and it just keeps erroring that I have no cash on it. I only put the fast pass on, no ecash.

This is my first card and I've already had to pay three fairs. Customer service isn't really helpful and I keep getting different answers.

Because this is my first card will the fast pass not activate until September 1st? Or is there something wrong with the card? This seems to idiot proof for me to be doing something wrong, but that still is possible.

Thanks for any help,

Akit said...

Hi Evan,

Thanks for the message. The electronic Clipper passes run on the same policies as Muni's paper passes. You can't use a September e-Muni pass until the start of the new month tomorrow.

Unlike AC Transit where buying a 31 day pass on Clipper is active the first time the passenger tags their card on the bus, Muni still operates strictly on the calendar system (and the 3-day grace period).

Last item, I highly suggest you add some e-cash to the account just in case you need to take a different transit agency.

Godot said...

Well I got a Clipper card at the Montgomery BART station last week - they were handing them out for free. Registered it online and put a Sept. "A" pass on it last Wednesday. Today - a week later - I got on the 24 only to find out that it's NOT LOADED! Good think I still had my paper August fast pass. So I checked online... They didn't even charge my credit card. So I called customer service and they PROMISE it will be loaded by tomorrow AM. Great. Do I get a 3.3% refund because I missed a day? Unreal.

Lesson: ALWAYS check and follow-up on public services. This one looks like it's just as lame as all the others we pay through the nose for.

Akit said...

Godot: This is one of the reasons why I tell people to buy in-person at a retailer, transit ticketing office, or an automated machine. The pass is loaded instantly.

Anonymous said...

Hi I work for a retailer that sells the paper fast passes. This month the "A" Fast Pass came in a small packet that said it is time to make the switch over to the clipper card. They are trying to let everyone know. I have also been telling everyone who buys the pass to get the clipper card over at Walgreens. I don't have to tell them but I do because I don't want them to be screwed when we no longer carry the paper pass.

Akit said...

Vendors could ask the SFMTA or Clipper if they can become a Clipper retailer. They'd have to install a mini credit card terminal to handle the transactions.