New Clipper pass to give ‘unlimited transit access’ to 50K Bay Area residents

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Photo credit: BART

A new pilot program will give 50,000 residents in the Bay Area free rides on bus, rail and ferry services throughout the nine-county region.

The new Clipper BayPass will initially be distributed to students at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, UC Berkeley and Santa Rosa Junior College, according to BART. All Santa Rosa JC students will have access to the pass, while about a quarter of students will be invited to participate in the pilot at the other campuses, where alternative transit pass options are offered.

After the rollout to colleges, the program will expand to include all residents of select affordable housing communities managed by MidPen Housing, according to BART.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in partnership with all Bay Area transit agencies launched the two-year pilot program to study the impact of the Clipper BayPass.

“This limited distribution, which will be based on random assignment, is designed to measure the impact on travel of an all-system pass when compared to students not using Clipper BayPass,” according to BART’s statement. 

The pass is being implemented on recommendations of an 18-month study led by the MTC and BART that focused on creating a “more customer-friendly transit fare system in the Bay Area,” BART stated.

“MTC will provide funds to transit agencies to offset the revenue impacts of the Clipper BayPass pilot, which is expected to conclude at the end of 2024,” according to the transit agency.