How you can ride BART for half off, plus how to redeem paper tickets for cash

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Recently when I was working on a report about using old gift cards I heard from Lawrence Ching. He asked if I knew about cashing in old BART tickets.

He told me had a personal experience. "I had accumulated, over the years, a bunch of paper BART tickets," he said. "There was about six or so of them and I happened to be in the Fremont BART station."

He says he asked about his old BART cards. "The station agent gave me a preprinted BART envelope, I think it said Treasury Department, Oakland, California," he recalled.

Ching wrote a note, explaining he wanted to cash in his old paper tickets and included the tickets.

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"Lo and behold, six weeks later a check came in from BART to me and I cashed the check and I got about $35 worth of money back from BART," he said.

Any BART station agent can help you with this, and there are instructions on how to cash in the old tickets on the BART.gov website. The important thing to remember is to get cash back, the cards must be worth at least a dollar.

"We began phasing them out at the beginning of this year," says BART spokesperson James Allison. "And so we no longer sell them at any of our stations. You can still use them, but we don't sell them at our stations; everything is geared towards Clipper."

So much so that BART is now offering Clipper Card users half off on all their rides in September.

Allison says there's nothing for you to do other than use the Clipper Card or its app. The reduced fare will automatically be deducted at the fare gate.

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"You'll get 50% off minimum of every trip," Allison says. "If you have a Clipper Card for a student, which has a discount, or a senior discount Clipper Card, you're going to get the your normal discount, and you're going to get the 50% off discount too."

BART set a pandemic ridership record last Friday with 105,000 riders. Still, that's just 25% of what it was pre-COVID.

If your paper tickets are worth less than a buck, you can donate them to charity. Many have a deal with BART where they gather up tickets and BART cashes them out.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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