For the tens of thousands of Muni's "M" (Muni Only) pass users using March's paper pass, are you ready for the mandatory switch to a Clipper card starting April 1, 2011?
I hope so!
This is now the time to prepare for the switch. As my former supervisor taught me, early = on time, and on-time = LATE.
Let's go over what you need to do:
Don't have a card? You can get a card at these locations:
- Any San Francisco Walgreens location, or select Walgreens locations in the Bay Area.
- Any of the other in-person vendors on this list.
- A Muni metro station ticketing machine.
- Clipper customer service at Embarcadero station (mezzanine level, east gates) and the Bay Crossings booth (a contracted customer service location) in the Ferry Building.
- Visit ClipperCard.com and order one (but do it earlier than later).
- Go to an in-person vendor (including Walgreens) and tell them what pass you need.
- Use a self-service machine like at Muni metro stations or the Temporary Transbay Terminal. BART ticketing machines with Clipper purchasing capabilities does not allow pass purchasing.
- Purchase online at ClipperCard.com, but you must purchase it at least FIVE DAYS before the new month starts.
- In-person vendor: Cash and sometimes a credit or debit card.
- Walgreens: Cash and commuter benefit paper vouchers.
- Self-service machines: Cash, debit, credit cards, and commuter benefit debit cards.
- ClipperCard.com: Credit, debit, and commuter benefit debit cards.
- Buses and metro vehicles: Place card over black sensor zone. Metro gates: Place card on Red/White circular on right hand side of gate.
- Hold card until confirmation tone or metro gates open. Never swipe card.
- Remove card.
- I suggest adding some Clipper e-cash value to your card for some flexibility. If you decide you need to ride BART or Caltrain, you have the ability to ride transit with the same card and not worry about exact change.
- Always tag your card to reader every time you board a vehicle or enter a metro station. Hearing the confirmation tone is the only way the Muni employee can verify you have a valid pass in possession.
- The card is reusable, so always reload to your plastic card. The card can last many years if it is taken care of. You will destroy the card's internal electronics if you bend it or punch a hole.
- The card can be scanned through a wallet, purse, pass holder, and other personal items. No need to tag the card 'bare.'
- Use a label maker or permanent marker and put your name on the back of the card.
- Register the card on Clipper's website for additional benefits, including balance protection if the card is lost, damaged, or stolen, history report of usage, and loading of funds online.
- If you constantly forget to buy passes or has to scrounge around the city for a pass vendor at the last minute, sign-up for Clipper's autoload program and passes will be automatically loaded on the card and charged to your credit card on a monthly basis.
I just hope the Clipper system is ready for everyone, and that boarding goes smoothly on LRVs when everyone needs to tag in say, in the morning at Church and Duboce.
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