Clipper and WageWorks off to a rocky start (updates)

Photo by raider3_anime

Update (2:44 p.m.): SF Appeal has a article up explaining how Clipper is blaming all these sundry errors on a “software glitch.” Windows 98, anyone?

Update (10:27 a.m.): The Clipper website appears to be working again. The cards mentioned in the original post below, well, we’ll get back to you on that.

Update (9:12 a.m.): As of this moment, the Clipper website … wait for it, is down. We’ll update this update as soon as we confirm that it works again. If that happens.

Original post:
Today was the first day for hella new Clipper cardholders. Many of them thought they had loaded their monthly passes onto their card via WageWorks, a commuter-benefit management company, or something like that. But boy, were they wrong.

Basically, the way WageWorks works: Your company offers you a pre-tax savings on your monthly pass, and hires WageWorks to manage the procurement and delivery of that pass to you. Used to be, they’d mail you your Fast Pass a week or so before the beginning of the next month. All was dandy.

Enter Clipper.

In an attempt to get ahead of the inevitable passing of the paper Fast Pass, WageWorks told its clients that rather than waiting until November (the first month without a paper “A” pass), they would have employees get Clipper cards now, and load their August passes onto them. WageWorks asked employees to get cards and to then, via WageWorks website, to register their Clipper cards and indicate the preference for a monthly pass. Oh, wouldn’t it be nice …

The ever-diligent Akit has an account of, well, the way things went down today. The point: People boarding BART and Muni thinking their passes were loaded on their newish Clipper cards were in for quite a shock.

SO! All you WageWorks workers/Clipper cardholders out there, hang onto any receipts from money you might have to spend on transit. If you had set your pass to load onto your Clipper card and then find yourself getting charged to ride, something is wrong. Very wrong.

Also, the cynic in me will need to wait and see whether those Clipper reimbursements actually happen, not to mention within the company’s promised seven (7) business days.


  • Colin

    I am one of the unlucky few San Francisco residents who actually works near Fisherman’s Wharf. When I head home, I usually walk to BART along the Embarcadero and check NextBus to see if an F might be coming by at a stop that I’m nearby. Twice a full F Market passed by without stopping. This is not uncommon, however, it still sucks.

    I finally arrived at Embarcadero BART and tried to use my virgin Clipper card but no dice. “See agent.” So I did and the BART employee proceeds to tell me that the Clipper card does not work for BART. I showed him my printed receipt and explained to him that the $70 fast pass works for both BART and MUNI. He kept shaking his head and telling me to call the number on my Clipper card. I told him, “You better do some research quick because there are going to be a shit ton of people asking you questions about the Clipper card.” And then I begrudgingly went and bought a BART ticket (which will *totally* be refunded, btw.)

    This morning a kinder BART employee at 24th gave me a BART pass after my Clipper card still did not work. However, it was the F Market driver who told me to pay the fare even after I showed him the receipt of my purchase of a fast pass. To which I said, “No way” and went back and found a seat. You mean to tell me after witnessing hundreds of F Market drivers letting on thousands of tourists for free that I’m the one you ask to pay? Eff your raise, F Market driver.

    • patricia

      hey Colin,
      I wonder if we work together, I’m @Fisherman’s Wharf too. And use WageWorks. Ugh.

    • Galen Gruman

      This problem is not limited to WageWorks. Commuter Check-provided Muni Fast Passes have the same problem. On Monday morning, a Clipper service rep told me her system showed the pass had been loaded by Commuter Check but was not showing up for the account to actually be used. Monday evening, a Clipper rep said this was happening to all Muni users with electronically loaded FastPasses due to a software error, with no ETA for a fix. Today, I get all circuit busy notices when calling Clipper, and the Web site says nothing.

  • cmvh

    Wow, Colin. That really sucks. It’s mind-boggling to me that there are still BART employees that would claim Clipper/Translink don’t work with BART; I’d used it for weeks back when I was working in SF to commute. And the EZ Rider card (BART’s high value card like Translink) always worked far more efficiently than Autoload on Clipper, but they’re phasing it out to match the other transit systems. I’m waiting for the point where the whole system just can’t take the strain and falls apart. :/

  • Solomon

    I am having this exact problem with my card. No Wageworks and no response from Clipper customer service. Their toll free number never works and no one responds to email. Epic Fail and I’m switching back to paper passes.

    • I understand your frustration, Solomon. But that’s just it: As of November, you won’t have the option of “switching back the paper passes.” Not the BART and Muni “A” pass, anyway. October will be the last month that type of pass is issued.

  • Sam

    well, that’s poopy. My boyfriend said he was having some troubles today, too. He bought a fast pass on it about a week ago.

    I haven’t had any troubles–yet. And am holding my breath on this luck I have been having…

    In other news, 30 Stockton…holy hell! 🙂 My first time on that bus, ever. And my last.

  • russ

    Woohoo. Mine works today… I think. It said “Autoload” when I went through the entry gates for BART today. Of course, the web site doesn’t have any reference to my monthly pass. Oh well.

    I have to believe the people running the infrastructure for this endeavor are amateurs. You’d expect we could do something more elaborate in a city so tied to technology. Oh well.

  • Colin


    This morning at the 24th Street BART station I spied two young’uns setting up a Clipper card information table next to the BART ticket machines.

    As I passed by I couldn’t help but shout out, “You’re a bit late!”

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