Clipper FAQs | Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

Clipper FAQs

Can I add value to my Clipper® card at the SMART station?

  • Yes, you can add cash value and 31-day passes to adult, Youth, Senior and RTC Clipper cards at SMART fare machines, located on each station platform. SMART fare machines accept cash and credit/debit cards.


How does Clipper calculate my fare?

  • When you tag your card before boarding the train, Clipper deducts the maximum fare from your starting zone and then refunds the difference when you tag your card to the card reader upon exiting the station. This means you must tag your card to the card reader before boarding AND exiting the station to ensure you're only charged for the distance you travel and that Clipper applies any appropriate discounted fares and transfers.


What happens if I forget to tag off?

  • If you do not tag off within 4 hours, you will be charged the maximum one-way fare from your starting point. Clipper will deduct this amount from your cash balance. If this causes your cash balance to go below $3.50 ($1.75 for youth, senior and RTC customers), you will need to add cash value to your card before you can ride again.


How long is my transfer good?

  • When transferring from a bus to SMART, you must complete your trip within 4 hours, from your last tag when riding a bus to your tag off on SMART, for your transfer discount to be valid.
  • Transfers from SMART to other services are valid as follows:


If you are transferring from SMART to:

Your transfer is valid for the following time period after tagging off on SMART:

  Golden Gate Ferry

   4 hours

  Golden Gate Transit
   (trips within one county)

   3 hours*

   Golden Gate Transit
   (trips through two
   or more counties)

   4 hours*

   Marin Transit

   3 hours

   Petaluma Transit

   2 hours

   Santa Rosa CityBus

   2 hours

   Sonoma County Transit

   3 hours*

*The amount of time you have to complete your trip from the time you tag off on SMART until you tag off on the bus


Do I need to ask for a paper transfer?

  • Clipper keeps track of your rides and automatically grants you appropriate transfer discounts when transferring to another agency that accepts Clipper.


How does the conductor know I've paid my fare?

  • SMART conductors carry handheld card readers that can confirm that you tagged your card before boarding. Please show your Clipper card to the conductor when asked for proof of payment.


What happens if I tag on, but my travel plans change?

  • If you tag your card twice at the same station within 15 minutes, the second tag will cancel your ride. The card reader will display a message that your initial tag was refunded. If you want to ride the train, you will need to tag on again. If your second tag was done after 15 minutes, you will be charged the maximum one-way fare.


How does the day pass work?

  • A day pass gives you unlimited rides on a single day once you pay $23 in adult fares or $11.50 for youth, senior and disabled fares. You do not need to pre-pay for the day pass—instead, just ride as you normally would. Remember to tag on and tag off, so the conductor will know you have a valid fare paid and so you can receive transfers to other transit agencies.


For my ride on Golden Gate Route 31 to be free, am I suppose to tag on and tag off both SMART and the Route 31 Shuttle?

  • Yes. For your ride to be free, you must tag on and tag off on both SMART and the Golden Gate 31 Shuttle.


If I have a 31-day pass on my Clipper card, do I need to tag my card every time?

  • Yes. Whether you are paying your fare with cash value or a 31-day pass, you must tag your card to a Clipper card reader every time you board and exit the train.


If I add a new 31-day pass on my Clipper card before my current 31-day pass expires, when does the new 31-day pass become active?

  • It depends on how you add your pass. If you add a new 31-day pass in person while the previous pass is still active on your card, Clipper will simply extend the expiration date of your current pass by 31 days, with no gap in between. If you want a gap in between your old pass expiring and the new one becoming active, purchase your new pass only after the old one expires, and the new pass will be activated the first time you use it.


  • If you are signed up for Autoload or you order your pass online or by phone, Clipper will automatically load the new pass to your Clipper card the next time you tag your card after the original pass has expired. For example, if you have a 31-day pass that expires on May 12, the new pass will not become active until the first time the card is tagged AFTER May 12. If you do not tag your card again until May 21, the new pass will be activated with a start date of May 21 and an expiration date 31 days from the start date. This happens automatically, with no disruption in your ability to use Clipper.