At last, a couple years behind other cities, San Francisco now has added Apple Wallet and Apple Watch paying capability on mass transit, with Android capability on the way soon.
As SFist reported in February, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the intramodal Clipper Card finally got around to adding mobile payments during the pandemic. Now, as of Thursday, riders on BART and Muni can just wave their iPhone or Apple Watch over a Clipper reader to pay fares on trains and buses. Clipper Cards can be added to the Apple Wallet, and be managed using a new Clipper Card app.
Clipper will also work in Express Mode on the iPhone and Apple Watch, so no Face ID or passcode entry is required. And similar capability for the Android is coming next month.
"The last year has taught us the importance of contactless fare payment, and this is one more way Clipper is delivering on that promise," says MTC Chair Alfredo Pedroza in a statement. "With Clipper’s launch today on iPhone and Apple Watch, we are offering greater safety and convenience to riders, drivers, station agents and transit operators."
The safety thing with dirty surfaces and COVID is, as we know, kind of overblown at this point. And New York got mobile payments on the subway two years ago, pre-pandemic, because this is just how the world works now.
Also, this isn't just for BART and Muni.
"This new fare payment method works on all 24 Bay Area transit services that accept Clipper," says MTC Executive Director Therese McMillan. "Riders can easily add cash value from Apple Pay and just tag and ride. It couldn’t be more user-friendly, not to mention timely. We’re looking forward to offering the same convenience soon with Google Pay."
Apple has some simple instructions here for putting Clipper into your Apple Wallet, and you can take it from there.
Hopefully, we won't be plagued with the same privacy concerns that were raised last year with New York's OMNY system.
And if you're really that paranoid, you're probably still paying with cash anyway and don't own a cellphone.