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Release date: Aug. 16, 2010

*** Press Release ***

Muni’s Metro stations will get state-of-the-art fare equipment to improve the customer experience and accessibility

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), today unveiled the new Clipper fare gates and related ticket vending machines (TVM) for the Muni Metro stations, replacing the current 30-year-old system. The single array of fare gates and the TVMs at Civic Center Station will go live next month along with the rest of the state-of-the-art equipment in the entire subway.  The $30.1 million fare equipment project is supported by $11 million in federal stimulus funds along with additional funds from federal, state and regional sources.

“Muni moves nearly the equivalent of San Francisco’s population every day,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the riding experience for each of these customers by making our system even more efficient and easier to use. The new, modern Clipper fare gates and TVMs are more examples of our commitment to these important goals.”

"With these new ticket vending machines and fare gates, SFMTA is helping to expand the ease and convenience of Clipper to more customers," said Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Chair and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. "It’s another milestone on the path toward making Clipper the preferred transit fare payment method throughout the Bay Area." MTC has coordinated the development of a regional transit fare payment system since the debut of a pilot program in 2002.

The new fare collection equipment to be installed in the nine Muni Metro stations this fall has been used in cities around the country and the world such as London and Atlanta. It includes 81 standard fare gates (24.5 inches wide), 19 accessible fare gates (42.5 inches wide) and 40 TVMs. This equipment will improve Muni customers’ experience and accessibility in Muni Metro stations, reduce fare evasion, reduce the amount of paper waste, promote Clipper and regional transit use and improve the transaction times at the fare gates and vending machines.

How Does the New Equipment Work?

The cash-less fare gates will accept Clipper cards and the new, 90-day limited use Muni tickets. They will also have, for a limited time, magnetic stripe readers attached to them so that those customers who have not yet switched to Clipper can still use their fast passes to enter at the fare gates. No transfers will be issued at the fare gates. The contact-less design of the gates means no ticket jams or jammed coin slots.

At the TVMs cash customers can purchase their fares. They may either buy their fare on a Clipper card or on a 90-day limited use paper Muni ticket.  Customers who already have a card or ticket can use the TVMs to check their balance or add value. The TVMs have an accessible design in terms of the layout of the features as well as Braille labeling and audio in three languages (Spanish, Chinese and English). The TVMs accept cash, credit cards, debit cards and even tokens. The TVMs will provide change and receipts.

While most San Francisco Bay Area residents will want to use the Clipper card, infrequent visitors to the City may prefer to use the new 90-day Limited Use Ticket (LUT) for Muni.  The Muni tickets expire after 90 days, cannot be registered for balance protection, and require a one-time $.25 surcharge to the vendor to cover the cost. The Muni tickets are notable for the bright photographs on them that capture the diversity of Muni’s unique transit fleet.

Throughout the spring and summer preparations have been underway for the installation of the fare gates and the installation of the TVMs began this month. Currently the installed fare gates (Civic Center Station only) and TVMs are undergoing testing.  TVMs have been installed at Powell, Civic Center, Forest Hill and Church stations. The fare gates at Civic Center and all TVMs are not open for customer use due to the testing and preparations for the complete launch this fall.

Time to Switch to Clipper

Last month the SFMTA announced that it will eliminate the paper version of most monthly Muni passes and the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) sticker 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 and the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) stickers.  Customers who use these passes must switch to a Clipper card by the end of October, before they purchase their November pass.  The Agency urges all Muni customers to avoid the rush and begin using the Clipper card now.

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.  RTC cardholders can use the Clipper function of their cards to load cash value or a discount monthly pass.

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.

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.

All 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.  With Clipper, customers can also register their card for balance protection and sign up for automatic reloading.

The SFMTA has begun deploying customer service ambassadors this month along with the Clipper 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 62,000 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.

Clipper card boardings on Muni have increased from 300,000 in January to 600,000 in June and to 800,000 in July.

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 For more information on the new Muni 90-day LUT, please go to: or for information in Spanish or Chinese, please call 311.

telephone311 Free language assistance / 免費語言協助 / Ayuda gratuita con el idioma / Бесплатная помощь переводчиков / Trợ giúp Thông dịch Miễn phí / Assistance linguistique gratuite / 無料の言語支援 / 무료 언어 지원 / Libreng tulong para sa wikang Tagalog / คว“มช่วยเหลือท“งภ“ษ“โดยไม่เส’ยค่าใช้จ่าย


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