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Bay Area Clipper card outage resolved after commuter chaos

A person's hand holds a bright blue plastic card with white shapes on it in the outline of a clipper ship.
Bay Area Clipper said it has recovered from an outage that prevented commuters from adding fare and reaching its customer service center Monday. | Source: Getty Images

Bay Area Clipper Cards are available once again after an outage on Monday morning that caused chaos for commuters on BART, Muni and other transit lines.

Would-be Clipper customers experienced difficulty adding value to their mobile cards via the Clipper app, digital wallets such as Apple wallets and through retailers, the travel card company wrote on social media in a series of posts that began at 8:23 a.m.

Customers were not able to access their account on the company’s website or receive assistance from the Clipper Customer Service Center. Customers were able to add value via ticket machines, the operator said.

The outage was resolved around 11:45 a.m. with customers able to add value to mobile cards and get assistance from the service center, according to a Clipper social media post.

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“I had planned to take public transit to SFO this morning,” Caroline Gallaher, who was visiting from Los Angeles for the weekend, told The Standard. “When I tried to add money to my digital Clipper Card, it failed to work over and over. A usually reliable system became stressful and confusing. I ended up taking a Lyft and paying significantly more. The outage was a major, costly inconvenience.”

“@SFBART Apple Pay clipper card service is down with no announcement? The station attendant knew about it and still got upset with ME about not being able
to add $ to my card,” wrote one X user at 7:40 a.m.

The chaos with Clipper cards came just over a week after BART made the switch from paper tickets to Clipper only on Nov. 30, completing a transition to Clipper cards that began in 2019 but was interrupted by supply-chain issues that caused a shortage in plastic cards.

BART riders now have to buy a plastic Clipper card for $3 or register a digital card using the Clipper app.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which runs Clipper services and worked to resolve the problem, apologized for the inconvenience.

Joe Burn can be reached at