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Clipper Cards Now Accepted On Samtrans Buses

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A passenger uses a Clipper card at a fare gate. (CBS)

A passenger uses a Clipper card at a fare gate. (CBS)

SAN MATEO COUNTY (BCN) — Bay Area public transportation riders are now able to use the long-awaited Clipper Card program on San Mateo County Transit District services, a district spokeswoman said.

SamTrans, which has buses serving San Francisco, Palo Alto, and San Mateo County, began accepting Clipper Cards this week. The Clipper program offers refillable cards for riders to use on several Bay Area transportation services, district spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said in a statement.

Other services using Clipper Card include AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Ferry, and Muni.

The program was supposed to debut on SamTrans on Dec. 15, but the district had problems uploading software to all of its buses on time, Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said.

On Dec. 15, BART phased out its EZ Rider cards, a Clipper Card-like payment system that BART previously warned it would cancel that month.

Officials initially intended to terminate EZ Rider cards in October, but fears surfaced that there could be technical issues with its replacement, according to a BART meeting agenda.

Clipper Card users in November reported receiving “tagging errors” nearly 7 percent of the time while using the service, up from the 5 percent of errors reported in July, the agenda said.

Tagging errors happen after a BART gate doesn’t admit a passenger when a card is placed flat against the card symbol on the gate.

Managers also wanted to give more time for riders to receive word that their cards would stop working.

“Our strategy for terminating EZ Rider is heavily dependent upon communication with our EZ Rider customers,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said in the agenda.

Clipper Cards should be available to approximately 90 percent of Bay Area transit users once the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority joins the Clipper network later this year.

Customers can obtain Clipper cards directly from transit agencies or at hundreds of local retailers, including Walgreens stores, or online at http://www.511.org or http://www.clippercard.com.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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