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 at 5:30PM, we will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall to give you an opportunity to provide your thoughts about a potential means – based fare discount. Members of the public may participate remotely via Zoom at or by calling 877 853 5257 (Toll Free), Webinar ID: 946 9904 7126. Translation services will be provided upon request. Please provide 72 hours advance notice for any translation needs.
  • Board of Directors Meeting: Staff will present findings and recommendations to the SamTrans Board of Directors at their October 7, 2020 meeting, held virtually via Zoom. The public may view the presentation and provide public comment at that meeting.


We also welcome your feedback and thoughts via our Electronic Comment Form. Join the conversation and make your voice heard!

Comments may also be submitted by calling SamTrans Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287 or by emailing


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Do you or someone in your household qualify for Clipper Start?
Would you agree or disagree with SamTrans joining the Clipper START program?