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January 26, 2021
Blog

Press Release: SolTrans Joins Eleven Transit Agencies in Low-Income Program

Mandi Renshaw

NEWS RELEASE
January 26, 2021

Vallejo, CA- Eleven more Bay Area transit agencies have joined the new Clipper START program, which allows lower-income adults age 19-64 to receive fare discounts ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent on most transit systems around the region. Beginning Monday, Jan. 25, riders with Clipper START cards will receive a 50 percent discount on SamTrans fares, and 20 percent discounts on AC Transit, City Coach, County Connection, FAST, Napa VINE, SolTrans, Tri Delta Transit, Union City Transit, WestCAT and Wheels fares.

Clipper START was inaugurated in July 2020 with 50 percent off fares on Muni, Caltrain and select Golden Gate Transit and Ferry routes, and 20 percent off BART fares. Six additional transit agencies joined the program in November 2020, with Marin Transit, San Francisco Bay Ferry and SMART offering 50 percent off fares and Petaluma Transit, Santa Rosa CityBus and Sonoma County Transit offering 20 percent off fares.

Clipper START is an 18-month pilot program initiated by MTC and Bay Area transit agencies that uses the Clipper transit fare payment system to reduce the cost of transportation for adults whose household incomes are no more than twice the federal poverty level (for example, $52,400 for a family of four). This can be an important benefit, as transportation costs are a significant burden on many households, particularly during the current economic climate.

As MTC Chair and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty noted at the time of Clipper START’s summer rollout, “MTC has a long history of serving low-income residents through community-based planning and other programs,” said MTC Chair Scott Haggerty. “Clipper START is really expanding that commitment to make transit more affordable to a wider group of people. We’re excited to see how many will take advantage of this pilot program.”

Applicants to the pilot program can provide a copy of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or Medi-Cal card, a county benefits eligibility letter, their Muni Lifeline card number or a copy of their last federal tax return to demonstrate their eligibility. Once approved, they will receive a personalized Clipper card that must be loaded with cash value before use.

The Clipper START discounts are automatically applied whenever the card is used on participating transit agencies. Clipper START is not a transit pass —it is a program that offers discounts for single rides on the 21participating systems. The card also can be used just like a standard Clipper card to pay for fares on any agency that accepts Clipper.

Riders interested in Clipper START can learn more about the program and apply online at clipperstartcard.com. The website guides customers through the application process, details what documents customers need to upload, and will save applicants’ progress to allow them to return later to complete the application if necessary.

MTC over the last several years has worked with its longtime Clipper card contractor, Cubic Transportation Systems, to develop the pilot program and to make application, verification and ongoing account maintenance (such as a lost card) a simple and straightforward process for lower-income riders.

Solano County Transit (SolTrans) has been the public transportation provider for south Solano County since July 2011. SolTrans provides local and SolanoExpress fixed routes, complementary paratransit, and subsidized Lyft programs. The agency is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that is governed by a six-member Board of Directors, composed of two representatives from the cities of Benicia and Vallejo, Solano County’s representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and a representative from the Solano Transportation Authority.

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