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SamTrans launches Clipper

Card allows access to 7 public transit services across the Bay Area

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SamTrans officials quietly launched the Clipper card this week, giving commuters who use multiple forms of a transit a new option.

All San Mateo County Transit District buses were set to start accepting the card — which allows riders to access at least seven public transit services across the Bay Area — on Wednesday, district spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

“We’re doing a soft launch,” Dunn said. “Which means we will be accepting Clipper on all of our buses, but we’re going under the radar so far.”

The district is holding off on a formal launch while it makes sure the system is fully operational. A launch had previously been scheduled for last week, but was postponed due to software problems.

BART also began transitioning toward Clipper cards last week by phasing out its EZ Rider cards, a Clipper-like payment system.

Officials initially intended to terminate EZ Rider cards in October, but fears surfaced that there could be technical issues with its replacement, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In addition, officials wanted to give riders more warning that their cards would stop working.

Clipper cards will be available to approximately 90 percent of Bay Area transit users once the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority joins the Clipper network in early 2011.

Customers can obtain Clipper cards directly from transit agencies or at hundreds of local retailers, including Walgreens stores, or online at www.511.org or www.clippercard.com.
— Staff, wire reports