1276783468clipper card.jpgI’m curious about the rules surrounding tagging your Clipper card on Muni if you have a monthly pass loaded. I consciously made the decision to skip tagging my card this morning on the N Judah since there was only a single car and it was packed like a can of sardines.

Just as luck would have it as I was emerging from the escalator at Embarcadero station, a fare inspector with a card reader was there waiting. He scanned my card and a big fat “NO” came up on his screen.

I have my card loaded with a monthly “M” pass. I didn’t get cited, but am wondering if there are any fines associated with not tagging the card. It’s really a PITA swim through the crowd like a spawning salmon just to tag your card sometimes.

I’ve often wondered this myself, since I have a monthly pass and NEVER tag my card (It’s crowded on Muni! And embarrassing when you have to balance your books, lunch, and other personal belongings while you attempt to swipe your card which doesn’t even work half the time! Sorry, I digress – this question is just close to my heart). I’ve run into fare inspectors a few times after neglecting to tag my card, and it’s never been a problem, but like the “Clipper Scanning Scofflaw” (his words, not mine) that wrote in, I was curious to know Muni’s official stance.

“You should always tag your card when prompted, but if you have purchased monthly fare on your Clipper Card you should be ok,” SFMTA Media Relations Manager Paul Rose told me. “Fare inspectors have portable card readers that can read the amount and fare on a card.”

There you go. You should always tag – kind of like how you should always floss? – but if you don’t, you won’t be cited.

Just kidding, you should always floss. Wow, for an advice columnist I really have to get my act together.

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