Clipper Card Loophole Allows $2 Ride To Any BART Station

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – It turns out a Clipper card feature that lets riders who are unexpectedly short on fare exit the station and pay later isn’t set up in a way so that the rider must eventually pay up.

Exit BART without enough money on the card, and the Clipper card will show a negative balance. Throw that card away, and all it takes to buy a new one is $2 in cash.

John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said only 6,000 of the nearly 250,000 Clipper cards issued since the rollout “went negative.”

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Since the transit cards are usually linked to a credit card or bank account for automatic reloads, most made up the difference probably without realizing there was a loophole that makes a BART ride anywhere in the system so cheap.

“These are regular customers. If they go negative, they reload their card. They essentially pay back the loan that has been given them from the Clipper system,” he said.

Now that the word is out, Goodwin said transportation officials are watching the numbers to see if more people are trying to game the system.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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