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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Attention Young and Old People of SF: Register for a Clipper Card Now!

Transition from Paper Pass to Farecard
If you are 17 or younger, or 65 and older and don't have a specialized Clipper card, now is a good time to start applying for it in preparation of Muni's transition of paper passes for these two groups.

Muni intends to transition all "Y" (youth) and "S" (senior) passes starting February 2011. This means, the last paper passes for these two groups will be issued for the month of January.

Unlike the adult Clipper cards, youth and senior Clipper cards are specially encoded to assure eligible people receives the proper discount as certain agencies have different definitions of what constitutes a discount, and to prevent fraudulent usage of the cards by adults. Here's a few examples:
  • When it comes to specially encoded Clipper cards... BART has a different policy for youth (red) magnetic paper tickets. The age limit is 12 years. Once that person becomes 13 years old, they must use a blue adult ticket or the special orange ticket which has severe restrictions on use and limited to some school institutions. When using a Clipper card, a youth card registered to a 10 year old will be eligible for discounts on BART and Muni (Muni's is 4-17 years old), but a 15 year old will be charged the full adult fare for BART and will get the youth fare for Muni.
  • To prevent fraud, Clipper simply cannot issue youth and senior cards to the general public in vending machines or in-person vendors. It would be easy for adults to cheat the transit systems unless a fare inspector with a card verification reader can find out. It's like the RTC disabled discount card, nobody can get their hands on it unless they provide written verification of a disability and file an application.
Why am I giving an early warning? I'm going to bet a bunch of you young kids and seniors will get lazy and won't register for a card until the last few days in January. History repeats itself, again and again. Take a look at these last two Clipper transitions gone sour by lazy idiots:
Please take my warning seriously, REGISTER NOW. As my former supervisor said to me: early = on-time, on-time = late, and late = you are screwed.

How can you register for a youth card?
But... if you need a youth card with AC Transit youth pass privileges, you must register this way:
  • The youth must be present at the AC Transit ticketing sales office at 1600 Franklin Street (Oakland), and must complete an application and show proof of age.
  • The youth will have their photograph taken and a youth Clipper card will arrive in the mail with their photograph attached to it.
  • There is no way around this policy. If a youth Clipper card application is received by any other agency than AC Transit, vendors and automated machines won't sell the youth passes for AC. But youth Clipper cards issued by other agencies will honor the youth e-cash fare on AC Transit.
Seniors, here's how you can apply for a Clipper card:
  • Complete the application form and bring it with proof of age to the Van Ness and Market SFMTA Customer Service office.
  • If you cannot make it to the SFMTA office, you can drop it off at these senior services centers, but be warned, these locations will only accept them on certain days and hours. Click here for alternate locations.
  • Once the application is received, the card will be mailed to the specified address listed on the application.

FYI: Since Muni is planning to open their new sales booth at Geary and Masonic starting December 27th, they may also accept youth and senior applications. This has not been confirmed; but if there's a SFMTA spokesperson who wants to answer this question, please leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

Kids can also go to the Golden Gate Ferry Ticket Office at the Ferry Building to get their cards. Just need valid ID (which reminds me, what if they don't have valid ID?)

Akit said...

Do you have a link documenting this? I'd like to see it for myself.

A transit agency's site is preferred.

Anonymous said...

"Applications accepted by Golden Gate Transit and Ferry are processed on the spot, and you will receive your card immediately."

Anonymous said...

It's absurd to make every parent in the city set foot in MTA headquarters to get a public transit pass. As you said in your previous post "who even likes going to the SFMTA office down at Van Ness?" Why has there been no presence in the schools, rec centers and playgrounds? Your blog is the first and only place I've even seen this information spelled out.

Akit said...

Thanks for the comment. I should have clarified, it's only a one time task for a parent to visit the MTA office to drop off the application.

Once the card is received in the mail, the pass can be purchased at any Clipper retailer location or any automated vending machine in the Bay Area.

You are correct, it's so odd youth applicants must file at SFMTA while seniors can do so at various locations around the city.

Jim said...

I once asked the then Translink "coordinator" at MTA about having enrollment/registrations at SF public schools. Never did get back to me.

Anonymous said...

I finally did get down to the only place on earth that allows you to purchase a Clipper card for your child. Once I submitted the paperwork they told that the card will arrive in 3 weeks.

Akit said...

Good to hear, did you go to the SFMTA location or some other one?

As a previous commentator said, going to the Golden Gate Ferry office in SF would have issued a card on the spot.

Anonymous said...

As mentioned in my other comment.....The simple fact that Clipper wants me to apply for my kids in person(seniors and disabled need to do this too) to buy a youth card is so infuriating I could spit....In every major city in the world where I have lived you can buy a youth card anywhere transportation passes are sold, in SF you have to go downtown, apply for it, wait for it to be mailed...what a joke, who came up with such an imbecilic system...San Francisco is run by ineptitude...just mind numbing..... this city already has one of the worst major city transportation system anywhere and now they are improving on their stupidity...stunning, just stunning..... I have better things to do but spend at least a morning or an afternoon "applying" for a transit pass....I am just overwhelmed with disdain....

Akit said...

Like I mentioned earlier in my post, the youth cards are customized and will automatically become an adult card when it reaches the proper age.

There's also the problem with fraud where if the policy changed and vendor can issue the cards, a child goes to several locations around the city, and even if their ID is checked, they could give those youth cards away to their parents or sell them so others can rip-off the public transit systems.

Youth and seniors only get ONE CARD in their name. The application process assures that there's no abusing the system.

Gees, lighten up. This is only a one time thing you have to do. Once it's done, you just go to any Clipper retailer and replenish the card.

Akit said...

To tack on some more, disabled people have to get a RTC card. Applicants visit any transit agency's ticketing office or designated office in their county.

Prior to Clipper, RTC cards was issued to those who wanted disabled passes as agencies like AC Transit and Muni issued stickers which can only be attached to a RTC card.

Plus, it's the best way to show a transit agency official the passenger is indeed entitled to a discount for a pass or ride as the passenger does not have to carry a doctor's note, disabled parking placard, or other paperwork to show a disability.

Anonymous said...

Akit, what prevents a 20 year old, for instance, from asking her 65 year old mother to get the card and then using it for herself. Does the system notify someone when they use their card coming through clipper..i.e. does it say 'senior' and the person operating the desk can see if it's a 20 year old?

Akit said...

A senior card looks different than the blue and white Clipper card. It's actually grey with the word "Senior" on the face of the card.

Fare inspectors enforces this.

Also, fare inspectors can find out on their readers if it says what user eligibility the person is (youth, senior, adult).