It's the second time in three years that we've been told to "say goodbye" to paper tickets on the BART system. But after re-introducing them last year in response to global supply-chain issues affecting the plastic Clipper cards, the agency is phasing out the tickets once again, for good.
Paper tickets for paying BART fares will be a thing of the past after November 30, 2023, and any remaining fares you might have on a paper ticket will be inaccessible after that date, so use 'em if you've got 'em.
Until November 30, paper tickets will still be able get fares added on Add Fare machines, so if you have any loose change remaining on a ticket, now is the time to cash that in.
You may recall that back in December 2020, BART stopped selling paper tickets, but said existing paper tickets could still be used to pay fares, for the time being.
As Hoodline explained in September, that was followed by a temporary reinstatement of paper tickets in 2022 due to a shortage of plastic Clipper cards. But that supply-chain issue has been resolved, and the paper tickets are going away again at the end of November.
Riders have to pay a $3 surcharge to get a new Clipper card, however all Clipper fares are 50 cents cheaper than paper-ticket fares, in an incentive program that started six years ago — this being the Bay Area, we can't ever rush anyone into changes like this too quickly.
But now, BART is going to start installing their new, more fare-evasion-proof fare gates, and those gates aren't going to have the old paper ticket slots on them. The first station to get the new gates will be West Oakland, and all stations in the system will have them by the end of 2025.
As we saw in renderings earlier this year, the new fare gates have spikes on top to deter both birds and fare evaders, and the whole project is costing BART $90 million.
The whole concept of Clipper cards should eventually go away altogether, and many people already pay BART fares using Clipper cards in their smartphone "wallets" or on their smartwatches.
As we heard last month, BART will also eventually be getting a new system that allows just a quick scan of a chip-based credit or debit card at the fare gate, or a scan of one's phone with or without a Clipper card installed. New York City and various European cities already have this system, eliminating the need for a transit-system-specific mode of payment.
Photo: Russell Mondy/Flickr