Update 5/12/12: Beginning Aug. 1, students who scan their Clipper cards before exiting BART will have 23 hours to use the transfer before it voids, as opposed to a one hour void as noted in the original plan.
Commuter students can soon kiss those free yellow Muni transfer passes goodbye as BART starts to implement the next step of a paperless system.
Starting June 1 passengers who ride the 28 Muni line from Daly City to campus will be required to have a preloaded electronic Clipper card. In order to get a free transfer, riders must tap the card they used to ride BART and load an electronic transfer before exiting the station.
The transfer will load on the Clipper card but riders will have to use the transfer within hour of loading or it will become void. Once the Clipper card is tapped when boarding Muni, the second free ride will load but must be used within 24 hours.
This could be a problem for students commuting to SF State on BART for summer classes.
The SF State shuttle doesn’t operate during summer session, which means those students will need to have a Clipper card to get the free ride to school on Muni.
Paul Rose, spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said this is currently the only station planning to implement electronic transfers.
“We are moving away from paper passes,” said Rose about the transition to smart cards. “This is the first step towards that direction.”
Rose said transitioning to a paperless system is not only environmentally responsible, but the SFMTA believes it will speed up Muni passenger loading and will be beneficial, especially if the all-door boarding plan is approved.
If riders experience problems with the new electronic system and it is unable to read the card, customers will not be liable for the error, according to Rose.
“If there is something wrong with our equipment, we will deal with it then,” said Rose.
For some of SF State’s large commuter population, the new electronic-only transfer pass could cause problems.
Currently students can collect a transfer pass whether or not they decide to take Muni or the free SF State shuttle to school and back. With the new system, students who ride the shuttle to school will not be able to ride Muni back to BART for free because the e-transfer voids if not used within an hour.
Some students were not happy about the upcoming change.
Business major Denisha Small said she doesn’t have a Clipper card and wasn’t planning on getting one.
“That would be an issue,” Small said. “It would be inconvenient for me if I can’t use (Muni) anymore.”
Other students who don’t currently have Clipper cards, like art major Andre Thurston, 20, were not as welcoming to the change.
“The commuting situation is only getting worse,” said Thurston, who explained that it takes him more than an hour to get to campus.
Thurston said he takes Muni when the shuttle lines get too long.
He believes the change will lead to a lot of confusion from people who forget to tap their card or those who forget about the void.
“I’m not a fan,” said Thurston.