San Francisco Transit to Scrap Paper Passes, Replace With Smart Cards

All-in-one transit cards will be the ticket of choice of Bay Area rapid transit riders.

by / June 11, 2010 0
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San Francisco's largest public transportation agency -- the Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) -- will start phasing out paper passes this summer and turn to plastic smart cards.

The cards -- currently known as TransLink, but will be renamed next week to Clipper -- automatically track and grant a rider's transfers and applicable discounts, according to a TransLink frequently asked questions page on the subject.

The cards are equipped with an internal chip and will be read by sensors on the California Bay Area's many public transportation services -- the Municipal Railway (Muni), the Ferry, Golden Gate Transit, Caltrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

The card is an "all-in-one transit card that can hold everything you need to ride any participating Bay Area transit service passes, discount tickets, ride books and e-cash," according to TransLink.

The current, colorful paper Fast Pass has become an iconic piece of some California Bay Area commuters' lives and old passes have even been turned into works of art.

Online Fast Pass sales will end after June 22, and the paper passes will be phased out in October, so customers must load them on a Clipper card starting Nov. 1.