Adult-Clipper-Card-web.jpgAnother reason to sign up for the Clipper transit payment card: Muni’s decrepitude could be your gain!

Muni Diaries has official confirmation that if a bus/streetcar/LRV’s Clipper card reader is broken or down, as with the cash fare boxes soon to be of yore, drivers are instructed to allow you to ride without demanding another form of payment — they just won’t give you a transfer.

This, after a reader wrote to them saying that the driver of a 28 told her “I have to pay cash fare when the reader is down and that’s policy.” MD then posts the official memo circulated to drivers that proves the 28 driver in question was wrong.

A disconnect between official policy and Muni drivers is hardly new, so our advice: print out that memo and stash it next to your card.

That way, if a driver, as MD puts it, “didn’t get the memo,” you can deliver said memo personally.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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  • Xenu

    …was this really a debate? Of COURSE you get to ride for free.

  • Eve Batey

    Yes, it was a debate, if the reader who wrote in to Muni Diaries is to be believed. Are you saying you think she, or they, were lying about the situation with the 28 driver?

  • Xenu

    I’m not accusing anyone of lying, I just don’t see how this could be a debate. Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

  • Muni Diaries

    Until SFMTA issued this new rule (which they apparently did last Monday, June 29), the policy wasn’t clear. Drivers were told at some point to tell Clipper/TransLink cardholders to either pay when they encountered broken card-readers, or not ride.

    Clipper still says cardholders should carry extra cash on them at all times, just in case:

    “What happens if the card reader can’t read my card for some reason?
    It’s a good idea to keep a little extra cash on hand in the event that your card doesn’t work. Unfortunately, transit agencies cannot give free rides when a Clipper card doesn’t work.”

    But that strikes us as lame in cases where it’s the reader that is broken, not the cardholder’s card. This will become more and more common in the coming months as more riders get Clipper cards.