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Clipper launching START Pilot Discount Program

Monday, July 27, 2020

Clipper START Muni Car Card that says "50% off Muni fares for eligible riders.  Start saving with Clipper START. Discounts for signle-ride fares only (no monthly passes). You must be a San Francisco Bay Area resident age 19-64 and meet certain income requirements to be eligible

Clipper is excited to launch the START Pilot Program in collaboration with the SFMTA and other Bay Area transportation agencies (BART, Caltrain and Golden Gate Transit and Ferry). Designed to make transportation more affordable for low-income residents, the Clipper START pilot program moves toward a consistent fare discount standard for the Bay Area region. The discount pilot program will last for 18 months while the program is evaluated. SFMTA has committed to continue to offer the discount after the pilot period ends.

To design, implement and evaluate this pilot program, the SFMTA is working with Clipper, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), BART and Golden Gate Transit—as well as community-based organizations, social services and public health sectors.

Am I eligible for the pilot Clipper START Program? How do I apply?

Adults ages 19 to 64 who have a household income of up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (approximately $50,000 per year for a family of four) can qualify for the Clipper START discount. Applicants will need to provide proof of eligibility in the form of copies of EBT cards, Medi-Cal cards or tax returns. Participants must also live in the 9-county San Francisco Bay Area.  Income levels and eligibility are available online – see for details.

Eligible participants will be able to apply online, mail or fax using a paper applicationOnce eligibility is verified, participants will be mailed a special Clipper card to use to receive the discount. This Clipper Card will show the participant’s name and will look like a regular Clipper Card.

What kind of discount will be offered?

Clipper START pilot participants will receive discounts for single rides on participating agencies. Participants riding Muni will receive a 50% discount each single ride purchased. Discounts vary by agency:

  • MUNI: 50% discount; single rides
  • Caltrain: 50% discount
  • BART: 20% discount
  • Golden Gate Transit and Ferry: 50% discount

If I am a Lifeline customer, should I get Clipper START?

For Lifeline customers who take fewer than 32 trips per month, this option costs less than buying a monthly Lifeline pass.

 What if I have a pass given to me by a social service program, such as Lifeline?

The discount will only apply to fares paid on single rides (including transfers). It does not apply to Muni passes. Our pass programs, including our free and reduced pass programs, are still available. However, the discount does not apply to them.

Where can I find more information?

More information is available online at The SFMTA is working with community-based organizations, social services and public health agencies to help sign up customers and spread the word about the program once it becomes available.