Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finally Got my Kid a Clipper Card

It's a little more complicated than you'd think:

  • Go to SamTrans HQ, during business hours, with kid. This means finding a day that I have off from work, but she doesn't have ice-skating, girl scouts, or get invited over to a friend's house.
  • Fill out form--make sure child passenger has an ID. School ID works (although the minor/senior application form has checkboxes for every other kind of ID--driver's license, passport, etc--except school ID, which seems the most likey--anyway, they accepted it).
  • On the form, there's a blank to put an email address, so we put hers. Maybe that's a mistake?
  • SamTrans folks mail it to Clipper people. Wait a week.
  • It comes in the mail.
  • Try to register it for autoload--but website says it's already registered.
  • Call customer service number on the back of the card. At least they're open late, and are friendly. They can set up a temporary password for the new account, so you can log in. It works, but it seems awkward--I just wanted this card listed on my account. Maybe if you put your own (parent) email address on the application form that will happen? It's not what they said to do. Maybe it's best to leave the email space blank on the application form? Then you could probably register the card under your own account.
  • Now I can log in, with my daughter's email, and a password which I just set and will keep myself, and set up autopay from my credit card. Not quite the way I wanted to do it, but at least the card won't run out on her unexpectedly. (Until my card expires, at least. Since Clipper has all the expiration dates for the CC's we use to autoload, conceivably they could send us warning emails when they're about to expire. That'd be handy, but I doubt it!)

Well, we're ready to ride, now. No more paying adult fare on BART just because BART doesn't sell child tickets at stations. Unfortunately tonight it's bwrw glaw fel hen wragedd a ffŷn, as the say in Wales (raining like old ladies and sticks), so I think we'll stay in.


295bus said...

Another observation: surprisingly, Youth Clipper cards look exactly like regular Clipper cards.

I thought, like BART tickets, the discount version would be red to be visually distinct.

I suppose the card readers alert CalTrain conductors and bus drivers on systems where you pay as you board, and they can judge if the user's a kid or not.

I marked our cards on the back with sharpies to avoid confusion.

Anonymous said...

My 10 YO daughter and I got hers at the AC Transit office in downtown Oakland. They put her photo on the card, so when holding the card there's no guessing about which age the card is for.