Means Based Fare Pilot Program

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SamTrans is exploring the feasibility of joining Clipper START, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) means-based fares pilot program. The agency is analyzing the program’s benefits and impacts in terms of ridership, farebox recovery and customer experience.

Clipper START uses the Clipper transit fare payment system to discount the cost of one-way rides for adults (ages 19-64) whose household incomes are no more than twice the federal poverty level (for example, $52,400 for a family of four). Clipper START participants will receive discounted fares on participating transit services around the Bay Area.

If approved by the SamTrans Board of Directors, the Clipper START pilot program would allow adult SamTrans riders who are lower-income to receive fare discounts of 20-50% off the adult single ride fare. The program would be evaluated for possible continuation throughout the 12-month pilot period.

For most Bay Area households, transportation is the third-biggest monthly expense — trailing only the cost of housing and food. Clipper START could be a critical program for many families, particularly in the current economic climate.

Visit for information on program eligibility and how to apply.


As SamTrans explores joining the Clipper START pilot program, we’re looking for your feedback!

  • Virtual Town Hall: On Tuesday, September 29, SamTrans staff hosted a Virtual Town hall to get public feedback about a potential means-based fare discount for SamTrans rides. If you missed the Town Hall, you can watch a video here. You can also click here to view a PDF copy of the Town Hall presentation.
  • Board of Directors Meeting: Staff presented findings and recommendations to the SamTrans Board of Directors at their October 7, 2020 meeting, held virtually via Zoom. The public may view the recorded meeting here. The Board is scheduled to officially join the program at the November 4 Board meeting, available through Zoom.

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