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Release date: 7/29/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that it will eliminate most paper monthly Muni passes and the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) stickers from its system and will transition all passes, except the Lifeline pass, and the stickers to the reusable Clipper card by next spring.

The first pass to switch will be the Muni “A” Fast Pass, which allows customers to access BART in San Francisco as well as Muni. Customers who use this pass must switch to a Clipper card by the end of October, before they purchase their November pass. The Agency urges customers to avoid the rush and begin using the Clipper card now.

Muni customers who qualify for the monthly discount pass due to disability use a monthly sticker on their RTC Discount ID Card. These customers receive Clipper-compatible cards automatically when they apply for or renew their card. RTC cardholders can use the Clipper function of their cards to load cash value or a discount monthly pass. Customers who use this pass must switch to loading the pass on their card by the end of October, before they purchase their November pass. Customers can load their cards online, at one of the participating Clipper vendors, or beginning this fall, on a ticket vending machine in a Muni Metro station.

“We have more than 40,000 customers who use the “A” pass and more than 7,000 who use the RTC stickers, so it’s critical we start early.” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Executive Director/CEO. “While the end of October is the deadline, we advise our monthly customers to begin switching well in advance of that.”

Monthly “A” Fast Pass customers can get their Clipper cards for free from any Clipper retailer (see for list), by visiting or by calling 877.878.8883. Note that Clipper has been programmed to accept TransLink cards; Muni customers, who are already using TransLink, do not need to get a Clipper card.

In August, 10,000 Muni “A” Fast Pass customers will receive additional information about the switch to Clipper when they purchase their pass through select sales outlets. The special announcement will be made on a trial basis in August in order to gather feedback from customers and retailers on the information provided. Recommended changes will then be incorporated into the full roll out to all “A” Fast Pass customers in September and October.

“We want our retailers and customers to be informed well in advance so they can be prepared for the transition,” said Ford.

Senior and Youth pass holders will be the next to transition in early 2011, followed by “M” Fast Pass customers in spring 2011. Senior and Youth pass holders will apply for their card in person and receive their Clipper card by mail.

In addition to the “A” Fast Pass announcement, the SFMTA will begin deploying customer service ambassadors next month along with the Clipper (or TransLink) street teams that have been providing information and customer service since the end of 2009 in Muni Metro stations. Since December the Muni Clipper street teams have distributed more than 57,000 adult passes and more than 7,000 to seniors and youth. Special outreach to senior and youth has been made through presentations at more than 60 community events. Clipper advertising has been posted throughout the Muni system and on local airwaves; additional outreach will begin as the pass transitions take place. The SFMTA has also undertaken an aggressive internal campaign to inform SFMTA employees, especially frontline Muni personnel, of the Clipper transition and how to assist customers. This campaign includes an orientation and multiple update videos as well as in-person training.

Monthly Muni passes on the Clipper card will work the same as they always have; however, instead of throwing them away at the end of the month, customers can reload their Clipper cards again and again, saving Muni time and money – and helping the environment.

The Clipper card offers customers a number of other advantages as well. Customers can sign up for balance protection, in the event their card is lost or stolen. They can also apply for automatic reload, which will replenish the cash value on their card when it dips below a certain amount or load the next month’s pass when the previous month’s expires. In addition, transfers are automatically stored on Clipper cards, eliminating the need for paper transfers. Additionally, the Clipper card is good on Muni’s fellow transit systems, BART, AC Transit, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry (and soon on SamTrans and VTA), allowing customers to ride throughout the Bay Area with just one transit card. This fall Clipper customers will be able to load their passes or check their balance at new vending machines in all Muni rail stations.

Clipper represents a new way of doing business at the SFMTA. By replacing old equipment and throw-away passes and transfers, adding new technology and conveniences, the SFMTA is building a better transit system. The result of the Clipper switch will be a more efficient and cost-effective system reducing cash handling and lowering operating costs.

In June, there were approximately 600,000 Muni customer boardings using a Clipper or a TransLink card. This represents a 100% increase in just six months.

For more information on the Clipper card, please visit Muni customers can learn more about using the Clipper card on Muni and the transition to Clipper by visiting

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