Many of you are signed up for the Essential Trip Card — a great low-cost taxi program for seniors (65+) and people with disabilities in San Francisco. We get a lot of questions about the card, so we wanted to share some common questions and answers here.
Q: When is the program ending? My card has an expiration date of 12/31/22.
A: The City has funding for the program through at least June 2023. Don’t worry about the expiration date. They do not send new cards, so just keep using yours!
Q: Can I use the card to go to my doctor in Daly City?
A: Unfortunately, no. The card can only be used for trips within San Francisco.
Q: How do I know how much money is on my card?
A: You can check your balance 24 hours a day using the City’s automated system: 877-738-2941.
Q: The receipt from my last trip says I only have $75 on my card, but I thought I had more money than that on there.
A: If you have more than $75 on your card, your receipt will only show a balance of “$75+.” So don’t worry! And remember, you can always call to check your balance (see question above).
Q: The $60 monthly limit doesn’t cover the cost of my essential trips. What can I do?
A: You can call the City and ask for an increase in your monthly allotment: 415-351-7053. An increase isn’t guaranteed, and CLC may not be able to cover the full amount if you do get the increase. But many people have had their monthly cap raised.
Q: The driver said the card reader couldn’t read my card, and I had to pay out of pocket. Is that how it’s supposed to work?
A: No! You should never have to pay out of pocket if you have money on your card. If you are sure you have enough money on the card but the card reader won’t read your card, the driver is supposed to fill out a manual receipt. Then they call an authorization number to confirm the charge, and you should be good to go!
Q: If I don’t have enough money on the card to cover the trip I’m on, can I use up the amount on the card and pay the balance with cash or another card?
A: Yes! A taxi driver shouldn’t reject your card if it doesn’t contain enough funds for the trip you’re taking. But you are obligated to pay the rest of the fare yourself.
Q: Should I tip the taxi driver?
A: Yes! You can tip up to 10% of the fare using the Essential Trip Card. If you have the means and the desire to go above 10%, you can use cash for the rest of the tip.
We hope these answers have been helpful. If you have a question we didn’t cover, feel free to contact Cathy DeLuca, CLC’s Transportation Program Manager, at 415-638-9183.
For more information about the Essential Trip Card, visit www.sfmta.com/etc.