Skip to Content
County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County increases transit discount for low-income adults through Bay Area’s Clipper START program

SANTA ROSA, CA | December 12, 2023

The Board of Supervisors today approved a continuation of county participation in the Clipper START program, a regional means-based pilot program launched in 2020 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Since 2020, Sonoma County Transit has offered a 20 percent discount on single-ride transit fares for eligible adults earning under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, Sonoma County Transit will increase the discount to 50 percent for eligible adults.   

“Thanks to approval today by the Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County Transit will continue making transportation affordable for community members who need it most,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Every bit counts, and participants can now count on a 50 percent discount when riding Sonoma County Transit and 20 other Bay Area transit agencies.”

Eligibility requirements for participation in the program include residency in one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties; between the ages of 19 and 64; must not already have a Regional Transit Connection Clipper Card for people with disabilities; and a household income of 200 percent or less of federal poverty level.

The program is implemented via Clipper, the electronic transit fare payment system on all transit systems in the Bay Area. After providing proof of identity and proof of income, eligible adults will receive a personalized Clipper card that can be used for single-ride discounts on all transit systems in the Bay Area.

Participating transit operators are subsidized by MTC with funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, State Transit Assistance and the State Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program. Sonoma County Transit will also use Transportation Development Act funding for any discounts that are not reimbursed by the MTC. The extended pilot program will run through June 2025, with MTC conducting additional evaluations to solicit feedback and determine if it should be continued.

For more information and to apply, please call (855) 614-9149 or visit the Clipper START website.

Since 2015, college students and Veterans in Sonoma County have been eligible to ride fare-free on Sonoma County Transit. Additional fare-free routes include the Windsor Shuttle, the Healdsburg Shuttle, the Sebastopol Shuttle, the Cloverdale Shuttle and local routes in Cotati and Rohnert Park. In 2023, Sonoma County Transit launched a pilot program to provide fare-free transit for youth riders between ages 5 and 18.

A full list of Sonoma County Transit’s discount fare categories is available online or by calling (707) 576-7433

Media Contacts:
Dan Virkstis, communications specialist 
(707) 565-3040