Clipper START & Youth Fare Pilot Programs

Notice of Public Hearing

The Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection) will hold two public meetings and one public hearing to gather comments on the proposed implementation of two one-year pilot programs offering a 20% discount on single-ride Clipper fares for eligible low-income adults as part of the regional Clipper START program, and for youth ages 6-18.

Proposed Program

In May 2018, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved implementation of a pilot Regional Means-Based Fare Program (later named Clipper START) to provide discounted fares for low-income adults. The initial 18-month pilot, which launched in July 2020, was limited to four of the larger transit systems in the Bay Area: BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate, and Muni. Adults (ages 19-64) with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for the discount, which is provided using a specially encoded Clipper card. MTC is providing funding to partially offset the cost of the program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MTC has elected to use funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand the Clipper START program to other transit operators in the region, including County Connection.

County Connection is proposing to join the regional Clipper START program and offer a discount of 20% off the regular, single-ride Clipper fare for qualifying individuals. Since the program is limited to adults and County Connection does not offer a discounted fare for youth, staff is also proposing the implementation of a 20% discount off the regular, single-ride Clipper fare for youth riders (ages 6-18) when using a Youth Clipper card. The table below summarizes the proposed discounts.

Fare TypeCurrent Clipper FareProposed Clipper START & Youth Fare
Local route$2.00$1.60
Express route$2.25$1.80
BART transfer$1.00$0.80

All cash fares, as well as passes on Clipper, will remain the same. Fares would also remain unchanged for low-income riders who elect not to apply for the Clipper START discount, as well as youth who choose not to use a Youth Clipper card. Seniors (ages 65+) and people with disabilities would continue to receive a 50% discount, and children under 6 will continue to ride free.

If approved, County Connection would begin offering the Clipper START and youth fare discounts as a one-year pilot starting in January 2021. The program will be evaluated in partnership with MTC and the other participating operators to determine the feasibility and potential funding sources for continuing the program beyond December 2021. Due to current uncertainty around schools reopening and ridership demand among youth, the pilot period for the youth fare discount may need to be adjusted in order to ensure adequate usage data is available for evaluation.

How to Comment

Comments can be submitted in writing via mail, email, or online, or at the scheduled public meetings. Written comments must be received by November 10, 2020.

  • In writing to:
    Director of Planning & Marketing
    2477 Arnold Industrial Way
    Concord, CA 94520

It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will take action on the proposed fare discounts at their regular meeting scheduled for November 19, 2020, following the public hearing.

6 thoughts on “Clipper START & Youth Fare Pilot Programs

  • If you start people at young ages with this incentive they are probably more likely to use it as an adult. For low income people this would be very welcome.

  • Thank you for proposing this. As a senior (a few years away from turning 65), this would encourage me to ride the bus more. I have cut back my bus trips significantly due to COVID. I am on a fixed income & would benefit from this.

  • County Connection bus fare is still too expensive for people who are low income to no income. Especially during this pandemic. Forcing people to have a clipper card and if not them charging more money for busfare if one does not have a clipper card is also wrong. Having to load a clipper card without a car is difficult. Not everyone has the means to have an electronic account in order to load clipper cards. This system of county connection makes riding this bus more than stressful than the usual stress of bus riding. When buses become too expensive for people with little income which is what it is now, to me is very disheartening.

  • I am a firm believer that all public transportation should be free, and this is a step in the right direction. I do agree with another comment though that it seems unfair these discounts are only offered through a Clipper card and not cash fares. It puts an extra burden on the individual to seek out the discount when a Clipper card may not be readily available to them. Make public transportation as accessible to everyone as possible!

  • Let’s make it happen! By easing financial burdens for low and lower-income ppl, can we help close the wealth gap.

  • Comments are closed.