Clipper on VTA
Where to Purchase and Load Value on a Clipper Card
- Purchase an Adult Clipper Card or load value at any Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) on all light rail platforms. TVM's accept cash, debit or credit cards. Video: How to buy a Clipper card from a VTA ticket vending machine
- At ClipperCard.com
- At a local Walgreens and other participating Clipper retailers
- At work through your employee transit benefit program. If ordered online, available by the first day of the benefit month.
Purchase, Replace, Load Value and Check Balances at VTA locations
VTA River Oaks Headquarters
3331 North First Street and River Oaks, San Jose 95134 (Bldg. B - Lobby)
8 am - 4:30 pm Monday - Friday
VTA Downtown Customer Service Center
55-A West Santa Clara Street San Jose, 95113
9 am - 6 pm Monday - Friday
- Youth and Senior Clipper Cards
Youth ages 5 through 18 and Seniors age 65 and over are eligible for a free Youth or Senior Clipper card. Riders using these cards automatically receive Youth or Senior fare discounts on monthly passes, ride books, tickets, cash value fares and transfers.
One of the Following Required to Demonstrate Eligibility
- Birth certificate or passport
- State-issued identification card or driver’s license
- Permanent resident card ("Green Card")
- Matricula consular/consular identification card
- SF City ID Card
- Student identification card with date of birth
- Military dependent card with date of birth
- Medical benefit card with date of birth
- Clipper never asks for your Social Security number
Apply for a Card
- Youth Application
- Senior Application
- Be sure to identify which form of eligibility you are submitting and provide the document's number.
- You must send a copy of your eligibility document with your application. Only send photocopies. Do not send original documents.
- You can submit your application by mail, email or fax.
- To get a card immediately, you can apply in person at a Clipper Customer Service Center or participating transit partner location.
Clipper Customer Service will mail your card directly to the address you provide on your application. Cards mailed by Clipper Customer Service typically arrive within seven days.
Youth Clipper cards are automatically registered when they are issued. If your card is ever lost or stolen, contact Clipper Customer Service to obtain a new card and restore your balance. If you wish to set up an online account to manage your card, you can call Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 for assistance.
- Regional Transit Connection Clipper Card
Persons with qualifying disabilities can apply for a Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Clipper Card. Holders automatically receive appropriate Senior/Disabled fares.
How to User Your Clipper Card on VTA
- Load Value
Value is stored on your Clipper card by the following:
- Passes stored on your Clipper card (such as a VTA monthly pass) work the same way as the paper versions.
- Cash value is stored on your Clipper card for use on any participating transit system's vehicles and ferries.
Passes and cash are stored separately on your card and are not interchangeable once loaded onto your card. For instance, if you add cash to your card, you cannot use that cash to purchase a monthly pass. Alternately, a transit pass on your card cannot be exchanged for an equivalent amount of cash.
Autoload is the fastest and easiest way to ensure you'll always have value on your Clipper card. Link your card to a credit card or bank account, and whenever your cash balance falls below $10 or your pass expires, the preset value will be automatically added to your card.
Timing for Adding Value
When adding value to your Clipper card, choose the combination of passes, tickets or cash that suit your needs. You can add value in several ways. Value added in person is available instantly, while it may take up to 3-5 days for value added online or over the phone to be available.
Value that is added online, over the phone, or by Autoload is added to your card the first time you use your card (after the value is available) by touching it to a card reader. At that time, your card's balance will also be updated to reflect the value added.
- Online: available within 3-5 days
- Over the phone by calling 877.878.8883: available within 3-5 days
- In person at a Clipper Add Value machine, participating retail store or transit ticket office: available immediately
- Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) on all light rail platforms: available immediately
Why does it take 3-5 days for value to be available?
When you add a pass or cash through the website, by calling the Clipper Customer Service Center or set up Autoload for the first time, it can take 3-5 days before the value is available to be added to your card.
This is because the pass or cash that you add to your card is stored directly on your card, not on a server. Adding a pass or cash to your card through the website or over the phone means that the information about your order needs to be batched up and sent out to the devices (card readers, fare gates, Clipper Add Value or ticket machines) located at each station and/or bus yard. In the case of the bus yards, it is then transmitted to the card readers on each bus individually at the end of each day.
Once this process is complete, the next time you use your card, the card reader will load the value to your card, where it is then stored for use.
- Tag Your Card
To use your Clipper card, locate the Clipper card reader at the entrance of the VTA bus or light rail station (next to the Ticket Vending Machines) and hold your card flat against the Clipper logo until you hear a beep. Customers must tag their Clipper card before boarding a light rail vehicle.
The card reader will also show the cash balance remaining on your card or the expiration date of your pass. When transferring to a second or third light rail vehicle or bus to complete your trip, tag your Clipper card each time. VTA’s Clipper 2-hour Free Transfer and Day Pass Accumulator features ensures only the required eCash fare is deducted from your card’s balance.
When there isn't enough money loaded onto the card upon tagging, a red light, three beeps, a “Travel Denied Low Funds” message, and the balance on the card will displayed on the Clipper card reader.
- Check Your Balance
If you need to check your balance or card usage history:
- Log into your My Clipper account and click on "Check card value" or "Check card activity"
- Contact Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883, TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929
- When you tag your card to a reader the balance will display
- At a self serve Add Value Machine or retail location
- Register Your Card
To keep your balance secure, register your card online or by calling the Clipper Customer Service Center at 877.878.8883. If you ordered your card online or over the phone, or if you have a youth or senior/disabled Clipper card, it is already registered.
Once your card is registered, if it is ever lost or stolen, your card and the remaining balance can be replaced for a small fee.
Clipper Customer Service Center
Monday - Friday: 6am to 8pm
Saturday: 8am to 5pm
TDD/TTY: 711 or 800.735.2929