SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, May 27, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Program Manager, Jason Weinstein, released an article outlining how and when the Clipper card system would be getting an upgrade. Weinstein writes that although the transition will not be complete until 2023, “The first step for the new generation of Clipper is the introduction of a mobile app, which will be available late 2020.”

A Clipper card is a reloadable card that is used for public transportation fare payment in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC, is a state government agency which is responsible for “transportation planning, financing and coordinating” the Bay Area’s public transportation system, according to their website.

The original Clipper card system was launched in 2006 and has been run by a company based in San Diego, California called Cubic Transportation since its beginning. The Clipper card is used as a method of fare collection on 22 transit providers, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Cal-Train, and Muni. According to the Clipper card website, the current system “is lacking features like mobile phone integration or the ability to immediately use value purchased online.”

This $461 million plan to upgrade the Clipper card system was approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on September 26, 2018. Cubic Transportation is working with the MTC to update every aspect of the Clipper card system, including new equipment and back end operations.

According to this MTC news release, the plan will introduce “an account-based system that will let customers reload their Clipper cards through a variety of methods and use the value immediately; the ability to integrate with other transportation providers; a new mobile app that allows customers to use their smart phones to reload their account and pay their fares; and better compatibility with transit programs operated by employers, colleges and universities.”

The new mobile app is set to release later this year. The exact date has not yet been released.