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Friday, September 3, 2010

The New Limited Use Muni Tickets

I mentioned before about Muni's new installation of fare gates and ticketing machines in their underground metro stations, and there's some new information out about the program.

Since the new fare gates will not accept cash, it will be similar to BART where passengers must buy their tickets at vending machines near the gate entrances.

The new tickets Muni will be providing are known as "Limited Use Muni Tickets." From some earlier news reports, it was supposed to be called the "Limited Use Ticket" or better known as the "LUT," but it's funny to note that someone might just add an "S" before "LUT."

The new paper tickets Muni will issue is Clipper compatible, but it has some awkward features that separates it from it's big brother, the Clipper card:
  1. The paper ticket is only valid for Muni.
  2. The cost of each paper ticket issued from the machine is a 25 cent surcharge.
  3. It can be replenished as many times a passenger wants, but there's a 90 day expiration from date ticket was issued.
  4. It is only sold by the ride, and only up to two rides can be purchased to the card.
  5. Once the ticket is encoded with either the adult price or the discount (youth/senior/disabled) price, it can't be converted to the different category when reloading card.
  6. 90 minute transfers are automatic.
If you want my recommendation, if you live in the Bay Area, just get a Clipper card. If you are just bringing friends or family from out of town, I'd suggest buying a Muni Passport. The paper ticket is more of a joke by charging a 25 cent surcharge; it's the similar feeling of being nickel and dimed for all the surcharges of buying a ballgame ticket.

Why not be a good citizen? Once you use up your paper ticket, just leave it nearby one of the ticket machines so that other person doesn't have to pay that annoying ass surcharge.


Mario said...


You are missing the big picture. Muni would be more efficient if all transactions on Muni vehicles were Clipper transactions. That includes buses. The problem is a lot of locals and visitors don't ride too often, haven't heard of Clipper, or haven't heard that they can get it for free now, or just don't want to bother. Muni can't simply refuse boarding them, because, let's face it, even a lot of locals pay cash.

Here is the brilliance of the paper ticket (if it works as I hope it will). You are a cash payer. You are forced to pay a surcharge to buy the ticket at the fare gate. You may have to think twice before tossing it. You may refill it for your next ride on the bus, thus avoid paying cash the next time around. In 90 days you will lose your balance and will be more motivated to get a permanent Clipper card. If paper transfers on buses are also eliminated and replaced with paper Clipper card (with a surcharge), this will be even more motivating for you to get a permanent card.

The hope is that eventually the only ones paying cash to the bus driver would be tourists whose first boarding was a bus or surface LRT.

Locals should have permanent Clipper, whereas tourists who boarded the LRT should have the paper Clipper.

Once there are very few cash transactions on vehicles, they will take off faster. That will also motivate a quicker transition to proof of payment and all-door boarding, which will also speed up service (and in turn increase frequency).

So please take a look at the long term reason why the surcharge is necessary, and don't just hand your paper Clipper to others.

Anonymous said...

I find it stupid that Muni had the nerve to take out all of the Clipper add Value machines at the stations. I think Muni should have left at least one or two machines until the others are ready.

People who use Bart and need to add money to their cards can't because of Muni's "New" machines.

Akit said...

#2 comment: Good point. This is why Clipper has been telling people to visit retailers for the next month until the Muni stations are fully ready.

Raymond said...

I concur. I was hoping to refill my Clipper card at the Embarcadero Sta but saw they replaced the Clipper machines with the yet-to-be-enabled Muni pass machines.

Since I have a CommuterCheck card, I cannot go to Walgreens to top off Clipper. Luckily I work near the temporary Transbay Terminal and they have a couple of Clipper machines there.

Akit said...

Actually, the old Clipper machines at Powell Station west gates (main gates) are working, but should be replaced soon as this week when Muni activates the new gates and machines.

You can also go to Civic Center's east (secondary) gates to buy passes.