Starting on Friday Sausalito Ferry and bus riders who use Clipper Cards for the big discounts will see changes in the rules for how we load cash into the cards:
You'll need a minimum of $4.25 on your card to ride the Sausalito Ferry
You can only add $100 to your card in a single transaction at the (sometimes frustrating) machines.
The Bridge District is pushing hard on their "Autoload" feature (hmmm… is that why the machines have been so finicky at times?). Kidding aside, for regular users the service is a convenience since it re-charges your Clipper Card from your credit card automatically when your transit dollars run low. You can sign up online or call the Clipper Card folks at 1-877-878-8883.
Clipper Card Secrets
While we're talking Clipper Cards, here are some often-overlooked secrets to keep in mind if you join the program, which delivers significant fare savings:
1. If traveling with older kids or business associates they each need to have their own Clipper Cards to board the ferry or bus. You can only swipe each card once per voyage or bus ride. This is designed to protect against accidental double swipes, but creates extra steps (and potential missed boats and buses if you're low on cash) for a family of four traveling together.
2. Always allow extra time if you have to add value to your Clipper Card at a machine. The more you're in a rush the less cooperative the devices seem to be. It's the machines, not me, making the mistakes. Really! I swear!
3. If you're using your Clipper Card on a Golden Gate Transit bus you have to swipe the card a second time when you get off so it only charges you for the zones within which you traveled. Otherwise they will charge you for the largest possible fare. Ouch!
4. Clipper Cards work on the special voyages to Giants games (which link to Larkspur, not Sausalito) but since it's not a commuter route you pay full fare, with no discount, even when using your card. That can cause some surprises where money seems to have vanished from your card without you spending it.
5. Much to the disappointment of the dog pictured with the Clipper Card above, only Guide Dogs and Service Animals can ride Golden Gate ferries or buses unless they are small enough to fit in a hand-carried dog container. BUT you can take dogs who can handle crowds on a leash on the Blue and Gold Fleet Sausalito Ferry crossings to Fisherman's Wharf.