Fare dodgers are getting away with free rides on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains due to a feature on the region’s new contactless Clipper cards, according to sfgate.com.
Clipper cards apparently allow riders to rack up negative balances like a credit card, so you can buy a $2 clipper card, load it with the minimum $2 credit, and take as many BART rides with it as you want. You can then dodge the bill by throwing the card away afterward, since the system requires you pay the negative balance if you want to add more credit to the card.
SFGate says it tested the scam and found that they could take $16.20 worth of BART rides for only $4.
According to SFGate, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the body in charge of administering Clipper, is stuck with the debts incurred from the negative balance feature. The MTC settles Clipper debts every day, meaning that BART has to be reimbursed for missed fares via regional funds allocated to the MTC for Clipper.
A spokesmen for MTC said the negative balance feature is designed to help travelers when there aren’t any fare machines available for topping up cards, and is dependent upon the “goodwill” of riders.
Read more here.