Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Low Balance Clipper Card still rides

In the Bay Area, riders on AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit have been able to use a Stored Value Card called Translink for a little while now. They have now changed the name to Clipper Card, and added SF Muni, BART & CalTrain.

In reading about this, a change to using your card on SF Muni I thought was pretty nice for card holders who might have depleted their funds. As long as you have $0.01 on your card, and you tap, you will still be able to ride. Here in Seattle, the ORCA card will let you ride, but you owe the difference as a cash fare if you don't have enough. On Clipper, the system essentially "Overdraws" your card. If you have $1.00 on your card, and it is a $2.00 ride, your card will be overdrawn $1.00. Next time you reload it, lets say with $20, you will have $19 available. I personally think this is a nice feature. With so many people going cashless, this helps if you don't have any cash because you can reload with your card later, or make plans to have cash, instead of being caught with not enough to ride.

A down fall to SF Muni, this should help some complaints about transfer times with ORCA, Clipper only gives you a 90 minute transfer period. So ORCA card users should be happy with the 119 minute transfer time they have.

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