Silicon Valley may seem like a shining beacon of technological progress to some viewers, however Locals know It can be strangely hit and missed – just as the San Francisco Bay Area has long done physically Tap-to-pay card that allows you to use virtually all public transport without simply tapping your phone or smartwatch to do the same.
Until today – because from today The Clipper Card supports Apple Pay, including Express Mode, where you don’t have to activate the device or open an app first.
You can now use almost any newer iPhone or Apple Watch to board the BART (which serves the East Bay and San Francisco), Muni (San Francisco’s bus and light rail system), Caltrain (the San Francisco with the Peninsula and South Bay connects) to rise. VTA (South Bay buses and light rail) and even the ferry. ((Instructions can be found here.)
That means you can traverse virtually the entire urban and suburban Bay Area without pulling a wallet out of your purse or pocket – especially since many of these vehicles are also suitable for bikes on board. It’s not that important when Apple Pay came to Japan’s Suica in 2016Since this rail network spans an entire country, it’s a big deal for technicians and locals like me.
Or it would be if I ever worked in an office again. There is not much demand for this at the moment! But I used to take the Caltrain and either BART or Muni to work every day and Clipper was my constant companion.
There are still some limitations: you can only load a given Clipper card onto a single device, so you can’t share it with an iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time. (You can only use two cards, though, and different Clipper passes are supported, not just cash.) You will also need an iPhone 8 or higher or an Apple Watch Series 3 or higher, and Apple is warning you about “Keep your Clipper cards. Plastic card for use with Bay Wheels-Bikeshare and your RTC on [disability discount] Tariff control card. “
Android users with Clipper cards should see similar functionality through Google Pay later this spring. and you should be able to purchase a map directly from Google Maps.