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How to Save on Caltrain Fares

Caltrain has a simple way for you to save money on your trips.

Want to save money on your Caltrain fares? It's as simple as switching from a paper ticket to a Clipper Card, the Bay Area's reloadable fare payment card.

As an incentive to move riders to the regional card, a one-way ride on Caltrain is 25 cents less for customers who use a Clipper card rather than purchasing a paper ticket at a Caltrain ticket vending machine, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said this week.

Caltrain’s goal is to have at least half of its one-way customers pay using Clipper, according to Dunn.

If the rail agency doesn’t meet the 50 percent mark by next month, then it may increase the cost of paper one-way tickets by 25 cents per zone. That would mean that those traveling from San Jose to San Francisco would pay an additional 75 cents per one-way trip.

Customers who’ve been purchasing a paper Day Pass, valid for unlimited rides all day long in the designated zones, but only making a round-trip, can save 50 cents per round trip. 

Clipper offers other advantages for customers. Unlike paper tickets purchased from Caltrain ticket machines, cash stored on a Clipper card never expires. Riders also can register their cards, and if the card is ever lost, stolen or damaged, the balance can be restored.

Adult Clipper cards can be purchased at www.clippercard.com, one of Clipper's retailers such as Walgreens or at the Caltrain office in San Carlos. Adult cards cost $3. Youth and Senior cards, which require a completed application, are free and available at select locations.

More information about Clipper on Caltrain, visit www.caltrain.com/clipper

commuter February 02, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Unfortunately, you cannot buy new Clipper cards at Caltrain stations. You cannot even add-value to existing Clipper cards. You need to plan well in advance if you want to take advantage of this 25 cent discount.
Mark Taylor February 03, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Unfortunately, true. Last year the question came up at one of their public forums about this. The response was that the present machines could not be programmed for Clipper and they could not afford to add those *rare* Clipper machines beyond what they purchased already for San Francisco and San Jose stations. They also revealed they were going to replace the current ticket machines and that is when they could add new features like Clipper add value. It was unclear though whether that meant only adding cash to the card or being able to add cash and monthly passes. At a minimum the new machines must be able to add cash to the card. I suspect though they will defer to Clipper and make you add monthly passes through them (online, phone, customer service center, or vendor like Walgreens) like BART does with its high value tickets (autoload for Clipper though you can purchase paper ones by mail).

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