Sorry to get hyperlocal on you again. If you don’t use transit in the SF South Bay and East Bay, feel free to ignore this post. If you’re with Facebook and will move to your new Menlo Park campus, though, pay attention: This stuff may be useful to you.
The Dumbarton (DB) Express runs between the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, past the Palo Alto Transit Center and across the Bay to Newark to Union City BART. Fare is $4 for transbay trips, while a local fare of $2 is charged for trips that don’t cross the Bay. Your Caltrain monthly pass with at least two zones is also accepted as full transbay fare for the DB Express.
Now, Clipper Card is our regional transit “Smart Card” usable on seven different transit agencies. DB Express is operated by AC Transit, and all AC Transit buses (including the DB Express) are equipped with Clipper card readers.
Are you with me so far? Good, because the Clipper Card doesn’t understand it that well, and neither do all of the DB Express bus drivers.
If you want to pay local fare only with Clipper, you tell the driver and he punches a button on the dash. You also need to wait for something to sync up with the Clipper Reader. That $4 charge in the first highlighted line below is Clipper charging me the transbay fare after I swiped the card too early.
You’ll see I have a 2 zone Caltrain pass for February. Theoretically, that’s good for a ride on the DB Express. The second highlighted line shows that the theory doesn’t match reality: I was charged for local fare in spite of the Caltrain pass on Clipper. I’ll bug AC Transit and Clipper customer service about it and see if they’ll fix this (and yes, I hear your bitter laughter about this, Murph).
Final word of warning: all
east WEST bound trips that begin anywhere in Menlo Park, Palo Alto or East Palo Alto can only be local trips, but the default fare for Clipper is still transbay.