BART will finally no longer accept its decades-old blue and white magnetic stripe paper tickets as a form of payment as it transitions to the next generation of the Clipper card system.
The agency announced this week on its website that riders will no longer be able to use the paper tickets at stations starting Nov. 30 and instead will have to use either a Clipper card (a one-time fee $3 to purchase a card) or sign up for a digital card riders can add to Apple Pay or Google Pay. Signing up for a digital card is free.
Balances on paper tickets cannot be transferred to a Clipper card. Riders can request a refund for paper tickets with a balance greater than $1 and for multiple tickets that add up to more than $1.
BART has been transitioning from its legacy paper tickets to Clipper for years with stations no longer selling the paper tickets, but fare gates still accepting them as fare payment. A supply chain issue with the Clipper cards last caused BART to revert to selling its paper tickets at the San Francisco International Airport transit station, but that has since been resolved.
The agency said the elimination of its paper tickets coincides with the Bay Area’s transition to an upgraded Clipper system, which the Metropolitan Transportation Commission administers, and BART’s transition to new fare gates.
Riders can expect to in the future see ‘open payment,’ where they can pay for fares by tapping a credit or debit card. BART officials said the upgraded system will also allow the agency to add new discounted programs, promotional discounts and potentially fare capping.
BART is also preparing to install new fare gates at all of its stations systemwide in an effort to deter fare evasion and improve access for riders with bikes, luggage and strollers. The old fare gates are at the end of their useful life and spare parts are hard to find, the agency said.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority board at its Oct. 24 meeting gave its final approval to help fund the new fare gates at the eight stations in the city. The board approved a request for $12.5 million using local Prop. L funds to modernize a total of 152 fare gates in the city.
BART will install prototypes of the new fare gates in December of this year with the final installation completed in the summer of 2025.
The total cost of the project is $90 million with funding from local, state and federal funds as well as funding from BART.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.