Go Pass Clipper Transition FAQ
What is the Caltrain Go Pass?
The Caltrain Go Pass provides unlimited travel on Caltrain between all zones.
Am I eligible for a free Caltrain Go Pass?
The Go Pass is available for free to eligible faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. As of 2018, SLAC employees are eligible for the Go Pass. You can check your eligibility at our Go Pass and Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) eligibility checker. Visit the Go Pass eligibility page for more information.
What about the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass)?
The VTA Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) allows unlimited travel on VTA buses and light rail, as well as several express buses (including the Dumbarton Express). It is available for free to eligible university and hospital employees. As of 2018, eligible commuters include SLAC employees. It is not available to students or postdoctoral scholars at this time. You can check your eligibility at on our Go Pass and Smart Pass eligibility checker. Visit our VTA Smart Pass page for more information.
Can I use any Clipper card for my 2019 Go Pass?
Go Pass users can request that the 2019 Go Pass be loaded on any adult fare Clipper card of their choice. Please note that Go Passes cannot be loaded onto discounted cards such as, Senior, Youth, and Regional Transit Connection (RTC)/ Disabled.
Go Passes are non-transferable and must be loaded onto a Clipper card belonging to the eligible commuter requesting the Go Pass. If you are eligible for the VTA Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) and have (or would like) a Smart Pass Clipper card, we encourage you to use the same Clipper card for both passes.
Can I use any Clipper card for my Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass)?
No. The Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) is only available on pre-loaded Clipper cards, which are available through Stanford Transportation.
How can I transfer existing products/cash value onto a new Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) Clipper card?
To request a transfer of cash value from one card to another, wait until you have received your Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) Clipper card, then contact the Clipper Customer Service Center at 877.878.8883 (TTY/TDD 711 or 800.735.2929) to request they transfer your cash value to the new card. There is a $5 fee for this service. Note that only cash value can be directly transferred.
Monthly passes and multi-ride tickets, including the VTA Smart Pass, cannot be transferred. If you have any monthly passes or multi-ride tickets on your current Clipper card that you are purchasing through our pre-tax payroll deduction program, they will need to be canceled on the existing card before they can be transferred to your new Smart Pass Clipper card. Please wait until you receive your Smart Pass Clipper card to cancel any existing transit orders. Questions about recurring transit orders, including transfer requests, can be sent to email@example.com.
How can I request a Go Pass on my Clipper Card?
Eligible Stanford affiliates should complete the Go Pass request form to request a Go Pass for 2019.
What if I don’t have a Clipper card?
- If you are eligible for the VTA Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) (e.g., most benefits-eligible university or hospital employees): If you would like an Smart Pass Clipper card, please submit your contact information through the Go Pass request form and we will contact you with next steps.
- If you are NOT eligible for the VTA Smart Pass (e.g., graduate students and postdoctoral scholars): If you don’t have a Clipper card, you can purchase one at a participating retail location, or through Clipper. Please note that only adult fare Clipper cards are eligible for the Go Pass. Senior, Youth, and RTC/ Disabled cards cannot receive this pass.
Is there a deadline for requesting my Go Pass and/or Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass)?
No. 2019 Go and Smart Passes (formerly Eco Passes) will be available throughout the year.
When will I be able to use my 2019 Go Pass?
The Go Pass is valid for the 2019 calendar year: from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019.
Once your Go Pass is loaded onto your card, you will need to tag your Clipper to activate the Go Pass. After that, you need to tag on and off for each ride.
Why is Stanford participating in the Go Pass on Clipper pilot program?
One of the major reasons behind this change is that Stanford Transportation is one of the departments slated to move to the new Redwood City campus. Once Stanford Transportation moves, we will no longer have a customer service presence on campus, nor will we be set up to do in-person transactions in Redwood City. We therefore need to reduce or eliminate physical, in-person processes such as affixing the Go Pass sticker to ID cards and badges.
How do I use my new Go Pass on Clipper?
Go Pass users should be aware that Caltrain requires you to tag on before and tag off after each ride in order to have a valid fare. If you forget to tag on and/or off, you will be subject to citation.
Each time you board the train, you must tag your card by holding it flat against the Clipper logo on the Clipper card reader on the station platform before boarding. You must tag your card again when you get off the train. Each time you tag on successfully, you should hear one “beep.” The smart chip in the card will verify that you have an active pass. If the card reader beeps three times instead of one, your pass has been misread by the reader and you should try to tag again.
If you cannot tag your card successfully, try on another device. If unsuccessful, your Clipper card may be defective or damaged. In the meantime, you must purchase a ticket because valid fare is required before boarding; otherwise, you will be subject to citation for fare evasion.
You may want to consider loading Clipper Cash onto your Clipper card for use in such an event. This can be more convenient and less expensive than buying a one-way or day-pass ticket at a station ticket machine.
Why do I have to tag on and off for every ride? Why is this different than Caltrain monthly pass users?
Caltrain requires all Go Pass users to tag on before and tag off after each ride in order to have a valid fare. If do not tag on and/or off, you will be subject to citation.
The Caltrain Go Pass is an institutional pass, which is set up differently than Clipper cash value and the Caltrain Monthly Pass. According to Caltrain, failing to tag on and off could result in improper Clipper card readings, which could result in a Caltrain citation.
Won’t there be lines at the Clipper machines?
Caltrain is evaluating ways to increase or relocate Clipper Interface Devices to provide better access to riders. In addition, we have created a map of the Clipper reader locations at the Palo Alto Transit Center, which riders may find offers more options than they may have thought.
What happens if I forget to tag on or off?
In order to have valid fare, Caltrain requires you to tag on and tag off before and after each ride. If you forget to tag on and/or off, you will be subject to citation.
If you forget to tag off, pay attention to the Clipper reader's beeping noise when you tag on for your next ride. One beep means you have tagged on, and two beeps mean you have tagged off. If the reader beeps twice to tag you off for your previous ride, swipe your card to tag on.
Please note that, effective April 2018, Caltrain has implemented a new proof-of-payment system for fare enforcement. Under the new system, if a Caltrain patron is contacted onboard the train without valid fare, Caltrain Fare Enforcement Agents or San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Deputies will scan/photograph their ID to issue a Notice of Violation for fare evasion. For more information, including fines, please see Caltrain's fare evasion policy.
What should I do if my Clipper card isn't tagging properly?
- If you are unable to get your Go Pass to tag on:
- Please try another Clipper card reader.
- Hold your card flat against the Clipper logo on the reader.
- Some commuters have found that the Clipper card only works when the card is not next to their Stanford ID card or badge, and/or is removed from any plastic ID holder.
- If you purchased your Clipper card from a retail location, confirm that the provider activated the card.
- If you are still having trouble with your Go Pass, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650.736.9923.
- Cash value is NOT required and should NOT be deducted when you use an active Go Pass. If this happens at any time, please call Clipper at 877.878.8883 for a refund.
Please note that if you have a discounted card (senior, student, disabled), the Go Pass will not work on these cards. If you have a Go Pass on one of these cards, please contact our office for a replacement card.
Will there be any changes to the policy on lost or stolen Go Passes or Smart Passes (formerly Eco Passes)?
Starting in 2018, there will be no replacement fee for lost or stolen Go Passes. However, each Go Pass user will only get two replacements per calendar year.
Because Smart Passes (formerly Eco Passes) are only available through Stanford Transportation-issued Clipper cards, there will be a replacement fee of up to $5 for all Smart Pass replacements. Each Smart Pass user only gets one replacement per calendar year.
Do I need to register my Clipper card?
We recommend that you do. All Go Pass users should register their Clipper cards on Clipper’s website. Once you register your card, you can report your Clipper card as lost or stolen to the Clipper Customer Service Center (877.878.8883 or TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929), and they can block your card from further use and restore the balance on your new card. You also would need to contact Stanford Transportation to request that your Go and/or Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) be deactivated and new pass(es) loaded.
Will the 2019 Go Pass work on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)? Other transit agencies? Will free passes for other transit agencies be on the Clipper card?
No. The Go Pass is a Caltrain-specific program, and the Go and Smart Passes (formerly Eco Passes) are the only free transit passes available for Stanford affiliates at this time.
However, employees can save on out-of-pocket costs for transit fares through our pre-tax payroll deduction program. The program enables employees to purchase up to $260 per month in transit expenses with before-tax dollars. For more information, please refer to our pre-tax payroll deduction web page.
Are the Go Pass and Smart Pass (formerly the Eco Pass) transferable? Can I loan them to friends and family?
The Go and Smart Passes (formerly Eco Passes) are non-transferable.
These passes are valid only for the eligible university/hospital employee, student, or postdoc to whom they are issued. Transferring a Go Pass constitutes fare evasion, which is a violation of California Penal Code 640.
Fraudulent use and transfer of the Go and/or Smart Pass is a serious violation of the program. Stanford affiliates who are caught transferring their Go and/or Smart Pass and individuals who accept a Go and/or Smart Pass that was not issued to them, will face confiscation and potential fines up to $400. In addition, those affiliated with Stanford will immediately forfeit Commute Club privileges and the privilege of receiving future passes and prizes through Stanford Transportation.