While many public transit systems have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to having the required fare, San Francisco commuters who use the Clipper Card system to pay for their Muni bus and rail rides can actually complete their trip; the uncollected fare will just be subtracted the next time the user adds money to their card. Unfortunately for one man, no one at Muni seems to know this, and he’s now out $125.
The man tells CBS San Francisco that he had boarded a crowded Muni car and swiped his card against the reader. He heard a beep and believed all was well.
That’s when a Muni fare inspector approached him and told him he only had $.70 cents on his Clipper card, $.05 short of the $.75 senior fare.
This resulted in a $100 fine for the man, which he then appealed — unsuccessfully and at a cost of $25.
A Muni spokesperson first told CBS on camera that rules are rules.
“Customers do need to remember that they need to keep track of what’s on their Clipper card,” she explained.
The first question on the Clipper FAQ is:
What happens if the Clipper® card reader says I don’t have enough money on my card for my ride?
If your fare exceeds your available cash balance, you can complete your trip as long as you have at least $0.01 on your card. You will need to add value before you can use your card again. Your new card balance will automatically be reduced by the amount you owe. If your card has no cash on it, or if your Fast Pass® has expired, your Clipper card will be rejected and you will have to pay your fare in cash.
The Muni rep then awkwardly admits that she had never heard of this little clause and that she’ll have to look into it.