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Monday, March 7, 2011

Adding Clipper Card E-Cash Now Available at BART Stations (with New Video)

Good news, Clipper e-cash can now be added at select BART stations! During the month of March, BART will be rolling-out this capability on a station-by-station basis and should be completed at all stations by the end of the month. Two stations are currently active: West Dublin/Pleasanton and Glen Park stations. I got an e-mail from a fan saying it's also available at Pleasant Hill station.

The new video I produced and embedded on this blog post will explain how to add e-cash by paying the ticketing machine with cash. You can also use a credit or debit card as an option too.

The BART ticketing machines are very fast and simple for Clipper cards; it fits perfectly like a glove. The menu system is easy to use and you can add any amount you like, from a minimum of five cents to the maximum card balance of $300.00. Plus, if you don't have exact change, no worry, you just push a couple of buttons and get the exact amount you want loaded on your Clipper card (example: I insert a $10, but I want $8 on the card; pushing a couple of buttons will load $8 on the card and give back $2 in change).

The flexibility to select a unique amount of e-cash to the Clipper card is a big plus, in comparison to Muni's ticketing machines at metro stations that forces you to select a certain amount of e-cash value prior to inserting money to the machine. Since Muni raised the minimum e-cash purchase to $5 for reloading the card, you can just find a BART ticketing machine and load any amount that pleases you.

One weakness is the machines can only do e-cash loading, and this means no passes and ridebooks. This is going to be disappointing for those at Millbrae BART/Caltrain because those Caltrain passengers won't be able to buy their passes or 8-rides utilizing a BART ticketing machine. I'm hoping BART will eventually add additional features to the machines so passengers can purchase passes and ridebooks.

On the bright end, at least there will be more places in the Bay Area to add e-cash! Next, the MTC needs to get Clipper self-service machines at Caltrain stations.

UPDATE 3/7 at 9:17AM: Rockridge and Balboa Park stations are now online as per Clipper's twitter account.
UPDATE 3/9 at 2:45PM: Dublin/Pleasanton station now available.
UPDATE 3/11 at 9:48AM: Fruitvale is online. Coming next, Castro Valley.
UPDATE 3/14: As per Clipper's Facebook page, Castro Valley is now online.
UPDATE 3/17: Union City.
UPDATE 3/15: Welcome, Fremont!
UPDATE 3/21: Pittsburg Bay Point, North Concord, and Concord.


Jeff said...

Conductor of Caltrain SB324 just announced that apparently people who have added "BART or Muni e-cash" to their Clipper cards are finding it is "not working. You need to add Caltrain e-cash". What the hell is he talking about? Is e-cash added at BART and/or Muni TVMs going into a different "wallet" or something?

Akit said...

That is just odd. E-cash is a universal fund good for any transit agency. In my POV, the conductor is trying to tell people to have the minimum of $1.25 on their card at all times when using passes or 8-rides.