San Francisco

BART Phasing Out Sale of Paper Tickets in Favor of Clipper Cards

The transit agency is planning on eliminating paper tickets system-wide in 2020

Starting Monday, BART customers will no longer be able to purchase paper tickets at the 19th Street station in Oakland, where now only Clipper cards will be sold as a means to board trains.

The Clipper card is an all-in-one transit card for the Bay Area. Besides BART, Clipper can be used on San Francisco Municipal Railway, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit, Caltrain and more.

The elimination of ticket sales from the 19th Street Oakland station is a part of a four-station pilot program to help move BART toward 100 percent Clipper use.

BART spokeswoman Anna Duckworth said that paper ticket sales will stop at the Embarcadero station on Aug. 19, Powell Street on Sept. 3 and the Downtown Berkeley station on Sept. 24.

Customers will still be able to use and reload paper tickets at those stations, but BART's goal is to completely transition to Clipper system-wide by next year.

"This is where we've been moving, where the industry has been moving," Duckworth said. "It's moving us forward technologically."

Duckworth said Clipper use has already been on the rise. Since a 50-cent surcharge per trip was implemented on paper tickets in January 2018, Clipper usage has steadily increased.

In December 2017, before the surcharge, Clipper cards accounted for 68 percent of all entries and exits in BART stations. As of this July, the cards accounted for 86 percent of all ridership.

In addition to saving a dollar per round trip, certain age groups also receive discounts when they use a Clipper card. Children ages 5 to 18 receive a 50 percent discount when they use a youth Clipper card, and seniors over the age of 65 receive a 62.5 percent discount with a senior Clipper card. Duckworth said many don't realize that they can receive a discount with the Clipper card.

Dev Paul, 72, of Richmond, said he was too busy to buy a Clipper card, but when he was approached by a woman wearing a Clipper shirt in the 19th Street station Monday morning and she helped him sign up for a senior card, he was glad.

"I'm feeling very great and happy because I'm going to save money," Paul said.

As a part of the transition, Clipper and BART staff will be at the 19th Street station on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, the usual peak time for ticket-buying at the station, to hand out free Clipper cards for those who don't yet have them.

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