Clipper® is a reloadable fare payment card that's used to store a Caltrain Monthly Pass and/or cash. Using Clipper® on Caltrain saves you money compared to buying a One-way Ticket from the station ticket machines. And, you double that savings with Clipper® if you're buying a paper Day Pass and just taking a round trip. Fares are listed here

The card reader at Caltrain stations reads the Clipper® card to see if you have a current Monthly Pass, or deducts the cost of a trip or ride from your card.

Clipper® card also is accepted on various transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For the latest list, click here.

Clipper cards can be purchased at, one of Clipper's® retailers such as Walgreens or at the Caltrain office in San Carlos. Adult cards cost $3. Youth and Senior cards are free. If you are purchasing a youth or senior Clipper® card, you must complete an application to obtain a Clipper® card. Customers with disabilities applying for a Regional Transit Connection Discount Card need to complete an application and come to a transit office to have their photo taken.

Clipper® START for Qualified Riders
The Clipper® START program offers a 50% fare discount for adult low-income Caltrain riders. To learn more and apply for the discount, visit the Clipper® START website.

Monthly Parking for Clipper® Card

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on Clipper®, visit

Top Tips for Smooth-riding with Clipper® on Caltrain

  • All Caltrain customers must have $1.25 cash on their Clipper® cards at all times. Cash value may be added immediately at transit agencies, retailers, BART ticket machines and Add-Value machines. If loading online or via the telephone, funds won't be available on the card for 3 to 5 days.
  • Cash  customers must tag on tag off for each trip (card readers are located on platforms except at San Jose (before you head up ramps to platform) and San Francisco (on the concourse).
  • Monthly Pass customers only tag on & off for first trip of the month. If you loaded your card at a retail vendor (such as Whole Foods or Walgreens) or a Clipper Add-value machine then you don't need to tag (the pass was loaded when the card physically interacted with the Clipper® terminal).
  • Monthly passes must be tagged by the 15th of the month, including for Autoload customers.
  • Touch the card on the Clipper® logo (not the screen) until you hear a beep and/or see green, yellow or red lights. If you continue to hold the card on the card reader, you can read the message (“Travel OK” or “Invalid fare”). If you hear one beep (green light) or two beeps (yellow light), you have appropriate fare and can board the train. If you hear three beeps (red light), the card doesn’t have a valid fare on it. Either load new fare or Clipper® cash to the card before boarding the train or purchase a paper ticket from the station ticket vending machine. The two beeps (yellow light) mean that the card is low on fare and may need to be reloaded before the next trip.

2/11/19  maw