Clipper transfer charging issue alleviated for commuter students

Muni BART

Students gather on the Muni 28/28L from Daly City BART to SF State. The Clipper transfers offer an alternative to paper passes. Photo by Alejandrina Hernandez / Xpress.

BART is trying to do away with the old yellow paper transfers to Muni, but some passengers are wary of recent charging issues with Clipper.

People who arrive at Daly City BART are offered free round-trip transfers to complete their commutes to SF State on the Muni 28/28L. The free transfers were originally available on paper, but have moved to Clipper cards as of June 1. But some SF State students, faculty and staff commuters have not taken advantage of the Clipper transfer in fear of being charged incorrectly.

“I believe going paperless has a lot of benefits,” Joseph Greenwell, SF State dean of students, said. “It is more green, saves students the hassle of potentially losing a paper transfer, and overall, I feel that it is easier to use the Clipper card.”

Since the update from paper to Clipper card transfers, some commuters have been charged when they were supposed to receive free transfers due to a software issue. The University Transportation Committee has collaborated with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help fix the charging issue on the Clipper cards.

“The SFMTA has placed a priority on moving customers from a paper ticket system to the regional Clipper program,” Wendy Bloom, SF State’s campus planner, said. “Clipper provides seamless connectivity and ease of payment between the 10 participating transit agencies in the region.”

Cubic Transportation Systems, the contractor that operates the Clipper system, recently identified a software issue and planned to implement a fix by Oct. 26, according to Bloom. Sources at SFMTA could not confirm if the issue had been corrected. Bloom said that Cubic has recognized all customers who were incorrectly charged and will provide refunds within 30 days.

“There has been a robust use of both the shuttle and Muni this semester,” Bloom said. “In the evening, some students will choose to stand in line for the shuttle rather than take the (Muni) because they are concerned about being incorrectly charged on the (Muni).”

Commuters who choose to use the free transfer will have the fare stored on their Clipper cards when tapped while exiting Daly City BART. Commuters then have 23 hours to use the first transfer and 24 hours to use the second.

Although SF State does provide a free shuttle service from Daly City BART to campus Monday through Friday, many students prefer using Muni and Clipper cards more due to convenience and accessibility.

“The Muni is a lot quicker and the line is always shorter,” Rukshar Iqbal, a sophomore nursing major, said.

Commuters who do not have a Clipper card can purchase one for $3 online, at participating transit agency ticket offices or various retail locations.

“Some students, particularly those who are new this semester, may still not understand that the free transfer exists,” Bloom said. “The old yellow paper transfers were highly invisible (and) the Clipper transfer is not.”

SF State BART commuters are encouraged to register their Clipper cards and check their ride histories to find out if they have been incorrectly charged for the free transfer. Those who have discovered an incorrect charge can request a refund at custserv@clippercard.com stating the dates of incorrect charges, the amounts and a PDF attachment of ride history from the Clipper website.

“Students should take advantage of the free transfer to increase their options to get to and from campus as quickly and efficiently as possible, whether by Muni 28/28L or shuttle,” Bloom said.

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