There are three changes:
- The minimum balance on a card to ride Muni is being raised to a minimum of $1.50. Anything less than that amount will be a rejected transaction. Those Muni passengers with a monthly pass and has less than $1.50 in e-cash on the card will be permitted to ride as the Clipper card reader will recognize the pass.
- SFMTA ticket machines located at all metro subway stations will change the minimum e-cash to be loaded to the card from $5 to $2.
- SFMTA ticket machines at metro stations will allow passengers to load a maximum of up to $100 in e-cash onto the card. Currently the maximum is $300, which is the maximum amount of e-cash a Clipper card can hold.
The agency has similar changes:
- The minimum balance on a Clipper card to ride the ferry is $4.25. Anything less and the transaction is rejected.
- Golden Gate Ferry ticketing machines will load a maximum of $100 in e-cash to a Clipper card.
These are some good changes for both agencies.
When it comes to the raising of the minimum e-cash balance on a Clipper card, this is a step in the right direction. This will greatly reduce the abuse of passengers who can rip-off the system by simply loading a nickel on the a zero balance card, ride a bus or ferry, and throw the card away. It also encourages passengers to take care of their Clipper card and reuse it.
For the metro ticket machines' minimum e-cash load being reduced to $2, this is very good for those passengers who ran out of money on their Clipper card and only have just enough cash for one more ride. Instead of making them pay for a Limited Use Ticket which wastes resources, a cheap reload is just what the doctor ordered. It's also perfect when you want to dump your leftover pocket change in the machine by requiring less coins to make the $2 load, but still, BART's ticket machines to dump change is much better and easier.
As for the maximum limit to load a Clipper card, I'm not sure of why they are asking for the change. There is the possibility that they are trying to limit the abuse of stolen credit cards, just like how BART has a limit of two transactions per credit card, per day.