OAKLAND, Calif., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With just a few days remaining before San Francisco Muni's elimination of its paper Muni-only "M" Pass, thousands of riders are beating the rush and loading Clipper(SM) transit-fare payment cards with an electronic version of the April pass. Beginning Friday, the "M" Pass, which can be used on all Muni routes, will be available only on Clipper. The change is part of a phased transition that began last summer. Customers adding an "M" Pass to their Clipper cards get the same benefits the paper passes offered, with no additional costs. Customers can reload future passes to the same Clipper card, and are encouraged to take advantage of Clipper's Autoload option.
Approximately 65,500 Muni customers purchase "M" Passes each month. Customers bought 42,850 "M" Passes on Clipper during the March vending window, which was a 13 percent increase over the roughly 38,000 sales during the February window. Since the March 17 opening of the April sales period, more than 5,400 Muni customers have purchased April "M" Passes and loaded them onto their Clipper cards. This includes more than 1,500 on Monday, March 28 alone.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Clipper program contractor Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. are deploying teams of customer service assistants — including Spanish- and Cantonese-speaking workers — throughout the Muni system and at select retailers to help passengers make the transition to Clipper from paper passes.
Clipper currently can be used to pay fares on Muni, BART, AC Transit, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit & Ferry, SamTrans, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Dumbarton Express. Together these operators carry more than 90 percent of all Bay Area transit passengers.
Muni, which carries the largest number of transit passengers in the region, accounted for an average of 217,550 Clipper boardings during the work week ending March 11. This was followed by BART with 109,350 weekday boardings and AC Transit with an average of 45,700 Clipper boardings each weekday. Smaller numbers of passengers used Clipper cards to board Golden Gate Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, Caltrain, VTA and SamTrans vehicles.
Due to the "M" Pass's transition to a Clipper-only product, and the continuing adoption of Clipper by Caltrain customers, MTC expects a higher-than-normal volume of calls to the Clipper Customer Service Center through at least April 4. Answers to the most frequently asked questions may be found on the Clipper website at www.clippercard.com. Customers also may choose to submit questions to the Customer Service Center via e-mail at email@example.com. Customer Service Center staff is able to respond to most such questions within 24 hours.
Riders can order a free Clipper card, add electronic value that is accepted on all participating transit systems, or add a monthly pass for a specific agency online at www.clippercard.com, by phone (1-877-878-8883) or TDD/TTY (711 or 1-800-735-2929), at the Clipper ticket machines in Muni Metro stations, at select transit agency ticket offices, or at more than 200 participating retail locations around the region. A complete list of retail locations is available on the Clipper website. Customers who opt to load an "M" Pass or other monthly transit pass to their Clipper cards online are advised to do so at least three days before the new month starts.
In addition to an Autoload option, Clipper also offers card replacement and balance restoration for customers who register cards that later end up lost or damaged. Registration is free and can be completed easily online, over the phone or by mail.
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC invites transit riders to follow Clipper on Facebook and/or Twitter for real-time communication about Clipper system services and operations.
SOURCE Metropolitan Transportation Commission