Stealthy $2 Clipper Fee Here to Stay

Clipper screen: insert card
Photo by bmevans80

Well, folks, it looks like we’ve been hornswaggled. We reported back in February that a $2 service fee being charged to some Fast Pass holders who use WageWorks or other commuter services to load their passes to their Clipper card each month was a fluke, a mistake, a one-off. Clipper didn’t authorize the surcharge, and MTC, which oversees Clipper, demanded that the commuter service cease charging pass-holders.

Then last week, friend of Muni Diaries Akit (of Akit’s Complaint Department) informed the public that the fee was, in fact, here to stay. Ever the helpful one, Akit also offers a few ways to get around the fee that are, well, less than environmental.

Muni Diaries Editor and WageWorks user Tara received an incredibly confusing email from WW about the fee. Here’s a particularly juicy excerpt:

In order for you to continue to use [the direct load feature], WageWorks must comply with new terms of the program by making you aware of the new processing fee and requiring that you “opt in” by re-electing the direct load feature and agreeing to the new terms and conditions.

Commenter Jeremy and a few others have confirmed that the charge has showed up on the bill for their May passes, also.

Yeah, it’s just $2. But when the agencies in power make the switch to the cards mandatory, sneak this fee in, tell us it was a mistake, then renege and say (in a whisper) that it’s here to stay … and oh, there’s a small increase ($2) in the price of Fast Passes coming this July … sorta makes you feel nickled and dimed, dunnit it?

7 comments

  • Susan

    OK, just posted this on Akits website too – but how /who do we bang on pots & pans to help raise the noise level of this to MTC? When it first came up, everyone pointed at someone else about who’s fee it is. We shouldn’t have to be paying $2 per month for them to move money around!

  • Susan

    Wage Works sent an email yesterday saying they are switching us all to paper checks that we’ll take to add to our clipper cards… what a pain! But a good choice instead of just passing on the fee.

    Another observation… clipper didn’t work yesterday morning or evening on the 1bx/1ax, nor again on the 1ax this morning.

  • K

    FlexCommute just sent us an email saying that they’re doing the same thing, switching us all to CommuterChecks, which we can then redeem at Walgreens.

    I think Clipper is shooting themselves in the foot on this one. I’m guessing they have to give Walgreens a cut of the transaction when someone redeems a check there.

    They impose a $2 fee on auto-loads, so everyone switches to CommuterChecks, and then Clipper has to pay Walgreens to redeem them. Sounds like Clipper will end up with less money than if they had just left the whole thing alone.

  • What twits. It’s mandatory that we all switch over, and then they add a fee? How suspicious!

  • Ciaran

    I’m wageworks too – so now instead of wageworkes just esnding my $60 to the MTA they will now issue me a mastercard that I will use to buy a fastpass. Cost to me: nothing. But now someone is paying for mastercard processing fees.

    This is so fucked up, and just seems like a cash grab by the clipper contractor (Cubic?). Whoever at MTA who drew up the contract that allows this needs to be fired.

  • Picasso

    I got the same letter from Wageworks about the new $2 fee to auto load my SF Muni Fast Past – what a crock. So I refuse to “opt – in” and now they have to pay to mail me a check, I have to take the check to Walgreens, and they have to pay Walgreens to sell me the Fast Pass. Who makes these insane rules? To add insult to injury, I receive my “commuter check” today for the July Muni Fast Pass, and it is only for $60 – but the July Fast Pass price increased to $62. What is wrong with these IDIOTS???????

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