The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) this month finalized agreements with the Alameda Transportation Management Association (Alameda TMA) and City of Menlo Park to provide up to a combined 1,900 people with passes for unlimited free travel for one year on any of 24 Bay Area transit agencies. The agreements with the two entities are part of Phase 2 of the Clipper® BayPass program, which is jointly managed by MTC and BART.
The Alameda TMA is a non-profit created to resolve transportation challenges facing people who live and work in Alameda by connecting them to a network of sustainable, affordable, convenient and active modes of transportation across the Bay Area. Over 1,700 total participants from more than two dozen member organizations are eligible to participate in Clipper BayPass.
The organization serves businesses and housing properties in Alameda Northern Waterfront, Alameda Point and Alameda Landing. Business organizations include light manufacturing companies, breweries/distilleries, and others ranging from small companies with fewer than 10 employees to larger ones with nearly 200 employees. Its housing properties range in size from 50 to 200 units.
Through Alameda TMA and its broad membership pool, MTC is able to provide Clipper BayPass to smaller businesses and housing properties that otherwise would not have been eligible for an institutional transit pass.
The City of Menlo Park will offer Clipper BayPass to approximately 200 employees. The City is already an existing customer of the Caltrain GoPass, and employees are now eligible for a Clipper BayPass upgrade.
MTC and BART expect to complete similar agreements with other employers and communities in the months ahead. The Clipper BayPass will be made available to as many as 20,000 individuals at up to 10 different companies, institutions or public agencies during the pilot program’s second phase. Employers who wish to participate can get more information and complete an interest form at clipperbaypass.com. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) last month become the first employer to join Phase II of the Clipper BayPass program.
MTC teamed with BART and other transit agencies to launch Phase I of the Clipper BayPass pilot in August 2022. The purpose of the program is to study the impact of a single pass that can be used for unlimited access to all Bay Area bus, rail and ferry services, with the exception of San Francisco’s Muni cable cars. To date, Clipper BayPass has been made available to 50,000 people, including residents of several affordable housing complexes managed by MidPen Housing, students at Santa Rosa Junior College and randomly selected students at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University and the University of California’s Berkeley campus.
Clipper BayPass partcipants used their passes for more than a combined 2 million transit trips in the first year of the pilot. Usage data indicate these customers take some 40% more transit trips than their nonparticipating peers and transfer between systems 74% more often.
Fare coordination and integration is a cornerstone of the Bay Area Transit Transformation Action Plan adopted by MTC in 2021. The Survive & Thrive roadmap released in 2023 by MTC, transit agencies, and business and policy advocacy groups identifies Clipper BayPass as a key strategy for retaining and growing ridership. Transit agencies later in 2024 will expand fare integration with the launch of a pilot program for no-cost and reduced-cost transfers between agencies.
Pilot program participants use Clipper BayPass for unlimited travel on:
- SFMTA (Muni)
- AC Transit
- Golden Gate Transit
- Golden Gate Ferry
- San Francisco Bay Ferry
- County Connection
- Dumbarton Express
- Marin Transit
- Petaluma Transit
- Santa Rosa CityBus
- Sonoma County Transit
- Tri Delta Transit
- Union City Transit
- Vacaville City Coach
Aside from allowing travel at no charge, the Clipper BayPass functions like any other Clipper card. Participants use their Clipper cards — either traditional plastic cards or Clipper cards on their smartphones or Apple Watch — to tag on (or off) at faregates, on buses, on rail platforms or at ferry ramps. The Clipper BayPass may not be shared with family or friends; it may be used only by participants selected for the pilot program.
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Commission operates the Clipper transit-fare payment system on behalf of the region’s transit agencies. MTC’s YouTube channel features a video with more information about Phase 1 of the Clipper BayPass pilot program.