OAKLAND (CBS SF) – BART is beginning a pilot program Monday that will make Clipper cards the only product available to purchase for train fares at certain stations, starting with the 19th Street Oakland station.

In an effort to eliminate the sale of paper magstripe tickets, the transit agency is rolling out the program at four stations in August and September.

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“By eliminating paper tickets, we’re going to eliminate that waste,” said BART spokeswoman Anna Duckworth. “Paper tickets can also jam our fare gates because they have to be inserted and be processed through the fare gate.”

Along with 19th Street Oakland on Monday, it will start on Aug. 19 at Embarcadero and Sept. 3 at Powell Street, both in San Francisco, and at Downtown Berkeley on Sept. 24, with plans for systemwide expansion in 2020.

BART officials say the benefits of using a Clipper card include saving money since the paper tickets come up with a 50-cent surcharge, the reduction of paper ticket waste, the versatility of the Clipper cards throughout various transit systems in the Bay Area, and improved efficiency when going through gates.

“There’s 50-cent per trip surcharge right now if you do use a paper ticket. So if you’re doing a round trip, that’s an extra dollar that you’re paying,” said Duckworth.

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While the magstripe paper tickets will no longer be sold at the four stations during the pilot program, they can still be used to enter and exit gates and have money added to them.

The biggest problem is for visitors from outside the Bay Area who have to spend the money on a Clipper card.

“Having to buy a $3 plastic ticket that you’re just going to end up throwing away, I don’t know. It just seems wasteful to me,” said Peter Matcheck, a tourist visiting from Wisconsin.

“There should be some traveler’s ticket. Because I feel like throwing away a plastic card — which we’re only going to use one time no matter what — is more wasteful than throwing away a paper card, which I assume can be recycled,” said his friend Kayla Grotsky.

Clipper and BART staff will be available for questions for the first three days of each station’s program, and will be handing out free Clipper cards to customers.

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