Update: Next Generation Clipper fare payment system due in summer 2024

Clipper Ferry
Noah Berger

Clipper is transitioning to its Next Generation model with rollout expected in August 2024 if benchmarks are achieved, MTC officials reported last week at the Regional Network Management Committee meeting.

While many customers will not notice the transition to the new system, as they load more value, it will be faster. As they apply for discount eligibility, it will be easier. And as they need to manage family accounts in one place, it will be possible.

“We want the transition to be as seamless and transparent as possible to users,” said Carol Kuester, Director of Electronic Payments at MTC. “Customers won’t have to take any action at all.”

The new Clipper will also accept major credit and debit cards from riders — known as open payments — making travel easier for locals and those visiting the region.  The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the Next Generation model this week.

Testing of the new system is now underway. Between now and next summer, Next Generation Clipper will be assessed to see that:

  • Value and passes load properly in near-real time on cards and phones;
  • Open payments functionality is working properly;
  • Funds flow from customer accounts and that operators are properly credited for trips take on their services;
  • Data is accurately reported in the Clipper back office;
  • Customer facing features such as the website, mobile app, and customer service center touchpoints are working properly.

There are 4 million active Clipper accounts and 10 million users every month, with 95% of travelers reporting satisfaction with the system and another 97% saying they would recommend its use to those they know.

Clipper serves as the fare payment system for riders on 24 Bay Area transit services. Next Generation Clipper is being delivered in coordination with the region's transit operators, which have been participating and providing input on the system's design, installation and testing.

The new system will serve as the backbone to provide many of the regional fare integration and accessibility features from the Bay Area Transit Transformation Action Plan.

The new Clipper will make it easier to offer incentives and promotions offered through employers, universities, and other organizations.

Customers have already been using features from the next generation design such as use of Clipper in mobile phone wallets. Over a quarter of Clipper transit trips are now taken using a mobile card. On some busy weekends, nearly half of all new cards customers acquire are on mobile versus plastic cards.

“I’m excited about the flexibility that is coming,” said Carol Dutra-Vernaci, MTC Commissioner and member of the Regional Network Management Committee.

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