How to transform Clipper into a wearable

As far as looks go, Clipper is no match for the colorful Fast Passes of yesteryear, but if you have enough patience and geek skills, you can still remedy the situation. A clever life hacker on Hackernoon extracted the brains of the Clipper card and embedded into a bracelet. Blogger Stephen Cognetta got tired of carrying his Clipper card, so he extracted the brains of the Clipper card (the NFC chip) and embedded it into a couple of different styles of bracelets and wearables.

Here’s how:

First, he dissolved his Clipper card in a jar of acetone to extract just the NFC chip.

Then, he checked if the NFC chip is still functional: smart idea, there.

After that, you can embed the chip (and antennae) in almost any thing. The wearable world is your oyster!

Here’s the full post with step-by-step instructions. I’m thinking a Clipper card ring, a la mob boss style, is in order.

Thanks to Amy at Capp Street Crap for the tip.

From the Vault: Paper Muni Fast Passes Through the Years

Image courtesy samsast

Before Clipper cards came into your life (“Translink” for you transit OGs), we marked our calendars by the monthly unveiling of the colorful paper Fast Pass. The paper Fast Pass was discontinued in 2011, and today we’re bringing back some of our favorite old Muni passes through the years. From the Muni Diaries vault:

  • Ken Schmier is the man who came up with the concept of the Fast Pass. He’s also the mind behind NextBus. Strange, right? But also, not. This happened around 37 years ago, to the best of our knowledge. The first passes went on sale sometime in 1974. The earliest we could find an image of (below) is October 1976.
  • In a blog post from Chronicle Books, designers for the book publisher lamented the lameness of the Clipper Card look, and paid homage to the beauty of the paper pass.
  • In 2009, local artist John Kuzich opened his Fast Pass exhibit at the de Young Museum. Kuzich asked for people’s passes on Craigslist, then assembled them on panels in really interesting and beautiful ways.

1976 muni fast pass by cranky old mission guy
Photo by Cranky Old Mission Guy

You can see lots more photos in this post. Here are some of our favs:

fast pass collage by steve rhods
Photo by Steve Rhodes

fast passes by christina b castro
Photo by cbcastro

Muni: You aren’t responsible to pay when a Clipper card reader is broken

This week, SFGate reported on a phenomenon that many Muni riders know all too well: when the Clipper card reader is broken and you don’t have a Fast Pass on your card, you might get a citation from fare inspectors. But yesterday, we were informed by the SFMTA again that you shouldn’t be cited in this situation.

In 2010, we asked SFMTA about the policy for fares when the Clipper card reader is broken. They told us that when the machines are broken, drivers are not supposed to make cardholders pay, regardless of whether the rider has a monthly Fast Pass loaded on the card. We even got the document SFMTA says they sent to operators notifying them of this change in procedure in 2010 (see above).

Has Muni’s fare policy changed since our 2010 story?

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us yesterday, “The policy has not changed. We are not going to hold passengers accountable if there is no way to tag your card.”

According to the SFGate story, about 55,000 people have been cited since July. And:

Since July, 8,700 Muni riders have complained they were wrongly cited for not paying the fare, many times because of broken scanners, according to appeal records. Roughly 175 of the riders succeeded in getting their ticket dismissed.

So there you go, folks. Whether the inspectors and drivers were misinformed, now you have the word (and the memo) to protest your tickets.

One Woman’s Success Story in Appealing a Clipper Card Citation

Photo by Agent Akit

Muni rider Jane G. successfully appealed her fare citation when she got a ticket for not tagging her Clipper Card even though she has a monthly pass. We’re reported in 2012 that you should not be cited if you have a valid monthly pass on your Clipper card and you didn’t tag your card (or the card reader was not working). Even though the SFMTA confirmed that you shouldn’t be cited, it looks like riders are still getting dinged. Here’s her story:

Today I was found not guilty of fare evasion in San Francisco Superior Court after the San Francisco Police cited me for not tagging my Clipper card.
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