No More Paper Passes


All paper passes are now a thing of the past. On January 1, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) eliminated the option of buying paper day passes from bus fare boxes and light rail ticket vending machines (TVMs). Instead, riders will need to purchase a Clipper Card and load money on to it from now on.

Exact cash and coins and day pass tokens are still accepted on buses and TVMs. Also, one-way light rail tickets can still be purchased at TVMs.

From January 4 thru the 28th, VTA will hold outreach meetings throughout Santa Clara County to inform people on how to buy a Day Pass (or Monthly Pass) using their Clipper Card.  This is an addition to meetings held back in December. Not sure how Clipper Card works? Please make the time to attend one of the outreach meetings VTA is holding. Alternately, you can visit this site to learn how the Clipper Card works.

Here is a search engine listing stores where you can buy a Clipper Card. For Clipper Card sales at Walgreens stores, purchase Clipper Cards at the photo counter where you used to buy VTA passes.

Use your Clipper Card a lot? Make sure to get the card registered after you purchase it. This way, if your Clipper Card is lost or stolen, you can report it and try to get it replaced. Treat your Clipper Card the same way you treat a bank credit card or debit card – keep it in a safe location and take it only when you need it.

More on Clipper Cards in a future post. See you on board VTA!

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users


  6 comments for “No More Paper Passes

  1. We just got back from Santiago. Super easy to buy and load/re-load their cards at every métro station. They work on the métro and also for the buses. But hère in the heart of Silicon Valley we have to go to Walgreens. Smh.

  2. All:

    There will be a follow-up article on how Clipper works nowadays at VTA – including who is
    responsible. (Clue: Clipper is already being implemented throughout the entire Bay Area.)

    Those of you with additional questions: join me at the first VTA Board of Directors’
    meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30pm at the County Supervisors’ Chambers, 70 W. Hedding Street in San Jose. Here’s how to prep for that VTA Board of Directors’ meeting:

    Discussion on Clipper will likely take place during agenda item 5.3 (General Manager’s Report).

    Meanwhile, these documents may answer some of your questions about Clipper at VTA:

    Clipper FAQ 1

    Clipper FAQ 2

    See you on Thursday evening.

    Eugene Bradley
    Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

  3. Who holds the funds that are being forced to be on the clipper card? Is interest being earned? If so who is getting it? Why is the minimum load $20 when a day pass is $6. Much of the ridership is in the lowest income bracket and it’s difficult to have a lump sum just to sit on a clipper card. I understand by not issuing paper passes VTA saves $70,000 a month and I’m happy they are looking for ways to save but it puts more pressure on the low income public

  4. ATTENTION VTA: If you are going to Require public transportation users to use Clipper please make it more convenient to load them! Loading them online on Clipper’s website can take up to 3-5 days As both my kids and I use public transportation, the ability to load our cards online would be more convenient than having to locate the nearest Walgreens to load it which isn’t that easy without a car. Why does it take Clipper 3-5 days to process a debit transaction online when you can pay bills, wire money and everything else online immediately? I’m asking VTA since you are promoting Clipper. Also Buyer Beware–when requesting reimbursement from Clipper–this can take 30-45 days after You, complete the required forms online and send a money order through the mail with required forms to pay Clipper to process You Your Refund of Your Money. I’m just curious, did VTA perform any research to confirm this feature would be a convenience for riders and not another headache?

  5. Not just you. I bought a compass card in Vancouver from a machine at the Canada line station.

  6. Am I the only one who finds it beyond stupid that you can’t buy a Clipper card at VTA stops or at Diridon station? Isn’t that the most obvious place to buy them, instead of having to walk to Walgreens? How hard would it be to put in machines that dispense the cards, like most transit systems have?

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