New, updated fare policies now in effect at SamTrans

El Camino Real Bus Speed and Reliability Study

Jan. 5, 2024 
Media Contact: Randol White, 650-647-3489 

The San Mateo County Transit District launched a couple of its new fare policies with the start of the New Year. The changes are designed to simplify the SamTrans fare structure, add new options and benefits for riders, and — in many cases — reduce the amount paid by passengers. 

The two new policies now in effect include: 

  • Free fares offered for pre-arranged school field trips. San Mateo County public schools would be eligible for this benefit. 

  • Express fares lowered to match those of local fares. 

And more new policies are still on the way. The following fare changes will be enacted once the updated Clipper payment system launches (Clipper 2.0), which is estimated for this fall: 

  • “Open payment” will be available, meaning customers can pay fares using contactless credit and debit cards.   

  • SamTrans to provide fare capping, which limits the amount riders pay on a daily and monthly basis.  

  • Customers can get transfer discounts of up to $2.50 when riding other participating Bay Area transit systems. 

  • SamTrans mobile app fares move to Clipper app. 

Public feedback played a big role in the decision-making process for the new fare structures. A presentation was made to the SamTrans Citizens Advisory Committee on Oct. 25, a community meeting was held on Oct. 30, and additional public input was received at the board meetings on Nov. 1 and Dec. 6. 

A Title VI fare-equity analysis was also completed to ensure the new fare policies do not discriminate based on race, color, or national origin. In addition, the Federal Transit Administration requires transit agencies to analyze how fare changes will impact minority and low-income populations. That analysis shows the approved fare changes will provide benefits to these communities.  

The San Mateo County Transit District Board of Directors approved the updated fare schedule in December. 


About SamTrans: The San Mateo County Transit District operates 71 routes and two on-demand service areas. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the district also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.  

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