The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that the cable car conductors are now using new handheld Clipper card readers that will allow conductors to deduct a fare from cash value loaded on a Clipper card as well as automatically load passes (and other products) purchased through clippercard.com or by phone onto a customer's card. This solution was accomplished without altering the historic appearance or operation of the San Francisco icons.
"The new handheld readers will make commuting by cable car much easier and more convenient for our customers who pay their fare with a Clipper card," said Debra Johnson, Acting SFMTA executive director/CEO.
The older version of the handheld reader could neither deduct cash fare from nor download a product to a Clipper card. In the past full implementation of the Clipper system on cable cars was limited by the lack of power and communications systems on the historic vehicles. Customers who wished to purchase a single fare had to either pay their fare with exact change or purchase a ticket in advance. Also, monthly pass customers had to tap their card to another Clipper card reader (such as onboard a bus or at the subway faregate) to have their pass downloaded to their card prior to boarding a cable car. Now, using the newly designed handheld equipment, customers have access to full Clipper system functionality.
As of this month, the SFMTA has completed the transition of monthly pass customers to the Clipper card and will be launching a campaign encouraging customers who pay cash for each ride to use a Clipper card too. The Clipper card not only provides customers with balance protection and automatic reload services, but also makes paying a fare with cash faster.