Can't pay your fare? We Can Help.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit people hard.  Millions of people across the country have lost their jobs or lost their incomes.  When times are tough, even paying for the bus can be a challenge.  During times like these, the SFMTA has programs to help get you where you need to go, like Free Muni for Youth, Seniors and People with Disabilities, the Lifeline and Clipper START reduced fare program and our Essential Trip Card

Reduced Muni Fares for Low-Income San Franciscans 


Lifeline is a Muni-only monthly pass for customers on a limited income. Lifeline customers get unlimited access to Muni service for a calendar month at a 50% discount off the standard adult monthly pass price. Individuals with a gross annual income (before taxes) at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible to receive the Lifeline pass.

Federal Poverty Level:

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Annual Household Income $25,520 $34,480 $43,440 $52,400 $61,360 $70,320


Currently, Lifeline program applications and requests for replacement cards are being accepted online or by mail, and expired Lifeline passes have been extended until April 2022.  

Lifeline pass holders may also qualify for the Clipper START fare program, a new regional discount program that provides a 50% single ride fare discount to those who qualify for Lifeline, which is a great option if you qualify for Lifeline, but don't ride enough to need a monthly pass.  

You can apply for a Lifeline pass: 

Free Muni for Youth, Seniors and People with Disabilities 

This program provides low- and moderate-income youth, seniors and people with disabilities residing in San Francisco free access to Muni service when using a Clipper card.  

All San Francisco seniors, ages 65+, youth ages 5 to 18, and people with disabilities with a gross annual family income at or below 100 percent of the Bay Area median income level are eligible for the program according to the chart below:

Qualifying Income

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

 Annual Household Income

$89,650 $102,500 $115,300  $128,100 $138,350 $148,600






You may apply by filling out the program application online or if you are unable to complete the online form, please mail a completed Program Application to: 

SFMTA Customer Service Center 
11 South Van Ness Avenue 
San Francisco, CA 94103 

Essential Trip Card 

The Essential Trip Card (ETC) – a discount program to help seniors and people with disabilities make essential trips in taxis during this crisis.  

The ETC will subsidize about two to three round trips by taxi per month for older adults (persons 65 and older) and people with disabilities. Eligible participants will pay 20% of the cost of a regular cab ride fare for essential trips.  The program uses taxis to take people on essential trips like going to the grocery store, pharmacy or another necessary medical trip during the shelter-in-place period. Customers who pay $12 will receive $60 value for taxi trips on a debit card.   

Together all these programs help make sure that every San Franciscan can access transportation during this difficult time. Even if you don’t qualify for one of these programs you can tell someone you know who would qualify for any of these programs and, make sure they apply.