How To Pay For Bart: A Comprehensive Guide

Riding on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a convenient way to get around the San Francisco Bay Area. With many payment options available, learning how to pay for your BART trip can be confusing. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the ways you can pay for BART so you can choose the best option for your needs.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The easiest ways to pay for BART are with a Clipper card or a BART ticket purchased from a ticket machine. You can also pay with cash on buses and trains.

Getting a Clipper Card

What is Clipper?

Clipper is a reloadable smart card that allows you to pay for your BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) rides conveniently. It is accepted on all forms of public transportation in the Bay Area, including BART, buses, ferries, and more.

With a Clipper card, you can easily pay for your fare without the hassle of carrying cash or buying individual tickets.

If you are a frequent BART rider or someone who relies on public transportation regularly, getting a Clipper card is a great investment that will save you time and money in the long run.

Where to Get a Clipper Card

Getting a Clipper card is easy and convenient. You can obtain a card by visiting any of the following locations:

Once you have your Clipper card, you can register it online to protect its balance in case it gets lost or stolen.

Loading Your Clipper Card

Loading funds onto your Clipper card is a breeze. You can do this in several ways:

  • At any BART station using a Ticket Vending Machine
  • Online at
  • By phone
  • At participating retail locations

When loading your card, you have the option to add cash value or purchase specific transit passes. It’s important to note that you cannot reload your card on board BART trains.

Using Clipper on BART

Using your Clipper card on BART is simple and convenient. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap your Clipper card on the card reader located at the entrance or exit of the BART station.
  2. Wait for the green light and the “beep” sound, indicating that your card has been successfully read.
  3. Proceed through the fare gates and enjoy your BART ride!

Remember to always keep your Clipper card handy as you will need to tap it both when entering and exiting BART stations to pay for your fare.

With a Clipper card in hand, you’ll have a convenient and seamless way to pay for your BART rides. Say goodbye to fumbling for cash or searching for tickets – just tap and go!

Buying Paper Tickets

When it comes to paying for BART, there are several options available to commuters. One of the most straightforward methods is purchasing paper tickets. This guide will walk you through the process of buying paper tickets and give you an overview of the different types available.

Purchasing Paper Tickets

To purchase paper tickets for BART, you have a few different options. The most convenient way is to use the ticket vending machines (TVMs) located at every BART station. These machines accept both cash and credit/debit cards, making it easy to buy tickets on the spot.

Simply follow the instructions on the screen, select your desired fare, and make your payment. The machine will dispense your paper ticket, which you can then use to enter the BART system.

Alternatively, if you prefer to plan ahead, you can purchase paper tickets online through the official BART website. This allows you to skip the lines at the station and have your ticket delivered to your home or office.

Keep in mind that online ticket purchases may require a minimum order or come with additional fees, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before making your purchase.

Single Ride Tickets

If you’re only planning to take a single trip on BART, a single ride ticket is a convenient option. These tickets are valid for one-way travel between any two stations and can be purchased at the station or online.

Single ride tickets are ideal for occasional riders or tourists who don’t need a full day pass.

Day Passes

For frequent riders or those planning to make multiple trips in a day, a day pass is a cost-effective option. With a day pass, you can enjoy unlimited rides on BART for the entire day. Day passes are available for purchase at the station or online, and they offer flexibility and convenience for commuters who need to make multiple stops or transfers.

It’s important to note that paper tickets are gradually being phased out in favor of the Clipper card, a reusable smart card that can be loaded with cash value or specific fare products. The Clipper card offers a variety of benefits, including discounted fares and the ability to easily reload your card online.

However, if you prefer the simplicity of paper tickets or are a tourist visiting the Bay Area, they are still a viable option for paying for BART.

Using Cash

Paying with Cash on Buses

If you’re planning to use cash to pay for your BART fare, it’s important to note that cash is only accepted on buses. When boarding a bus, you can simply pay the fare with cash to the driver. However, it’s worth mentioning that BART recommends using Clipper cards for a more convenient and streamlined payment experience.

Paying with Cash on BART

Unlike buses, BART does not accept cash as a form of payment at the fare gates. Instead, you will need to use alternative payment methods such as a Clipper card or a paper ticket. These can be purchased at BART ticket machines located at each station.

Simply insert the cash into the machine, select your fare, and collect your ticket or load the value onto your Clipper card.

Exact Change Required

If you’re paying with cash on a bus, it’s important to have exact change as bus drivers do not provide change. This means you should plan ahead and have the correct fare amount ready. BART also recommends having the exact change when purchasing a ticket at the ticket machines, although they do offer change in the form of dollar coins and a limited number of $5 and $10 bills.

For more information on paying for BART fares and alternative payment methods, you can visit the official BART website at Remember, using a Clipper card can save you time and hassle, so it’s worth considering as a convenient option for paying your BART fare.

Mobile Ticketing Apps

With the advancement of technology, paying for your BART fare has become more convenient than ever. One of the most popular and efficient ways to pay for your BART trip is through mobile ticketing apps.

These apps allow you to purchase and store your BART tickets directly on your smartphone, eliminating the need for physical tickets or paper fare cards.

Clipper on Your Phone

One option for mobile ticketing is to use the Clipper app on your phone. The Clipper app allows you to load funds onto your Clipper card, which can then be used to pay for your BART fare. Simply download the app, create an account, and add funds to your Clipper card.

When you are ready to take a BART trip, simply tap your phone on the Clipper card reader at the fare gate and you’re good to go. It’s quick, easy, and convenient!

Third Party Apps

In addition to the Clipper app, there are also several third-party mobile ticketing apps that allow you to pay for your BART fare. These apps often provide additional features and benefits, such as trip planning, real-time arrival information, and fare calculators.

Some popular third-party apps include Transit, Go Transit, and Swiftly.

These apps work by allowing you to purchase a digital ticket directly through the app. Once purchased, the ticket is stored on your phone and can be activated when you are ready to board the train. Simply show the activated ticket to the fare inspector when requested, and you’re good to go.

It’s a seamless and hassle-free way to pay for your BART fare.

It’s important to note that while third-party apps can provide added convenience, they may charge a small fee for their services. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of each app before making a purchase.

Discount and Special Fares

When it comes to paying for BART, there are various discount and special fare options available to make your commute more affordable. These options cater to different groups of riders, including youth, seniors, disabled individuals, and low-income earners.

Youth and Senior Discounts

BART offers discounted fares for both youth and senior riders. If you fall into either of these categories, you can take advantage of reduced fares to save on your transportation costs. Youth discounts are available for individuals aged 5 to 18, while senior discounts are offered to those aged 65 and above.

To qualify for these discounts, you may need to provide proof of age, such as an ID card or birth certificate.

BART’s youth and senior discounts not only make commuting more affordable but also encourage young riders to use public transportation, reducing traffic congestion and promoting sustainable travel options.

Disabled Riders

BART is committed to providing accessible transportation for riders with disabilities. If you have a disability, you may be eligible for discounted fares or even free travel on BART. To qualify for these special fares, you will need to apply for a Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Clipper card.

This card provides discounted fares not only on BART but also on other participating transit agencies in the Bay Area.

The RTC Clipper card offers various benefits for disabled riders, including discounted fares and unlimited transfers between BART and other transit services. It’s important to note that eligibility criteria may apply, so it’s best to visit the official BART website or contact their customer service for more information.

Low Income Riders

BART understands the financial challenges faced by low-income individuals and families. To address this, they offer the Lifeline Program, which provides discounted fares for eligible low-income riders.

The Lifeline Program is available to individuals or households that meet certain income qualifications.

To apply for the Lifeline Program, you will need to complete an application form and provide proof of income. Once approved, you will receive a special Clipper card that enables you to enjoy discounted fares on BART and other participating transit agencies.

By offering discounted fares to low-income riders, BART aims to make public transportation more accessible and affordable for all members of the community.

For more information about discount and special fares on BART, including eligibility requirements and application processes, visit the official BART website.


With multiple options like Clipper, paper tickets, cash payments, and mobile apps, paying for your BART trip can be easy and convenient. Clipper cards offer the best discounts and easiest experience, while paper tickets work well for infrequent riders.

Understanding all your choices for paying BART fare ensures you can find the right payment method to suit your needs and budget.

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