BART begins paperless ticket program in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Out with the paper, and in with the plastic!

BART is ending the sale of paper magnetic stripe tickets at Oakland's 19th Street station on Aug. 5. BART will only be selling Clipper cards at the station, though riders will still be able to use previously purchased paper tickets to ride the system.

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"I'm not used to buying a Clipper card," said Shadarch Polee who grew up in West Oakland. He says switching from paper to Clipper feels like a big change.

"It's gonna make it harder. It's going to make it very unfortunate for a lot of people."

"Cannot read card," said Sandip Roy as he tried to load money on his Clipper card at the 19th Street station. The Clipper machine rejected Roy's payment, so he was forced to pay his fare on the paper ticket machine, where the same form of payment worked just fine.

"It would be nice if they had other machines around here, so you could do it multiple times," said Roy.

BART spokeswoman Anna Duckworth says Roy's suggestion will become a reality on Aug. 5.

"What you see right now that are paper ticket machines will be Clipper card vending machines as we make this change over. So there should be multiple options for people to buy Clipper cards at the stations."

Riders can pay for both Clipper cards and paper tickets with cash or card payment.

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Duckworth says since BART added the 50-cent per trip paper ticket surcharge in 2018. Clipper card usage has gone up from 68 percent to 86 percent of BART riders.

"We're really trying to get the remaining 14 percent who aren't using them, to use Clipper."
BART says transitioning away from paper tickets to Clipper cards will reduce paper waste and save riders money by avoiding the 50-cent surcharge.

BART also says Clipper will improve efficiency in the system, since it's faster to swipe through the fare gates with a Clipper card than with a magstripe ticket.

The paperless rollout continues on Aug. 19 at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco, then the Powell Street station on Sept. 3, and Downtown Berkeley on Sept. 24.

Clipper and BART staff will be available on-site for the first three days of each station's pilot program launch to answer questions, help customers with Clipper card purchases and hand out free Clipper cards.

BART expects all stations in the system will be clipper-card only sometime in 2020.
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