Yes to the cash surcharge – but we need WAY MORE Clipper sales outlets
Muni has proposed a 25 cent surcharge for cash transactions on buses and light rail, which is something a lot of other transit systems also impose, because cash transactions slow boarding. (Transport for London doesn’t allow cash at all: https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares/bus-and-tram) This makes a lot of sense for operations, as any rider can see when boarding with Clipper and waiting for cash payers.
However! This is a major hassle for people who are used to paying cash, like tourists, low-income riders, and occasional riders who just want to get on the bus already. Clipper cards are available at a reasonable number of retail outlets, notably Walgreens (https://www.clippercard.com/ClipperWeb/map.do) – but not nearly as many as you’d think. This is a drag especially for riders who don’t have credit cards for Autoload, or just want to use cash.
The answer, of course, lies in the recent past. (Everything used to be awesome! Well, kind of.) Way back in the TWENTIETH CENTURY, Muni sold Fast Passes and tokens at almost every corner store! Seriously, even Mendel’s Art & Stationery at 1556 Haight @ Ashbury sold the Fast Pass. EVERYONE sold it.
When Clipper came along, many of these vendors gave up because Clipper sales were more trouble. (Search this page for 94117, the Haight/Ashbury zip code – there are only three!)
But now it’s time to go back to those vendors (and many more who never sold the Fast Pass) and get them signed up to sell Clipper. It shouldn’t actually take more than a small point of sale device, and they need to take cash.
Come on MTC (who runs Clipper) and SFMTA, let’s make this happen!