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Clipper Card Refresher

Monday, January 5, 2015

As we launch into a new year, we thought a reminder on how to use Clipper would be helpful. A couple of basic tips can make your transit trips a breeze:

  • Tip 1: Make sure your Clipper card never runs out of value. Autoload allows you to pre-authorize a direct and secure transfer of funds from a credit card or bank account to your Clipper card. The Clipper site has a helpful step-by-step overview of how value is added to your card (scroll down to the “Adding value” section).
  • Tip 2: Always tag your Clipper card to the card reader on all Muni vehicles or at any subway station fare gate, every time you board. Make sure your card was read by the reader.  Hold your card flat against the Clipper logo until you hear a single beep or, if you are in a Metro station, the gates will open. 

If the reader beeps twice the card either wasn’t read or you don’t have enough value (funds) on your card.  Try again. The card reader will also show you the cash balance remaining on your card, the expiration date for your pass, or remaining rides.

As for transfers, Clipper automatically calculates the 90-minute transfer period or inter-agency transfer discount, so you do not need a paper transfer.

It’s also worth noting that the SFMTA offers a number of fare discounts that you may be able to take advantage of, such as:

  • Free Muni for Youth: Low and moderate income students 5 to 18 years old residing in San Francisco can ride Muni free. Visit for more information and to apply.
  • Low Income (Lifeline) Pass (not available on Clipper): Muni-only monthly pass for qualified customers on a limited income. Visit for more information on how to apply.
  • Youth/Senior/Diability Discounts: (see eligibility) Cash fare is $0.75 and the Muni-only monthly pass is $23. Those who take advantage of our discounted fares must be prepared to show proof of eligibility (E.G., California drivers license or RTC card) while riding on Muni, as well as within the paid areas of all Muni stations. 

And if you have any great ideas for improving the Clipper card, be sure to tell the folks at Clipper, who are part of our regional partners, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. They are conducting a survey to help them create the second generation of the Clipper card.

Man (torso visible) holds a Clipper Card next to the Clipper reader on a streetcar.