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Most public transit networks I have used offer a so-called day pass, weekly pass or similar ticket that allow unlimited rides during a limited time, on the whole system or on certain zones in case of wider service areas.

I was not able to find any information about the existence of such a pass on BART. The best deal offered is a high-value ticket that contains more dollars than it actually costs. Getting it is rather inconvenient since it should be requested in the mail, making it unsuitable for tourism. Does it mean I need to pay for every single trip even if I need to heavily use the system for a few days?

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AFAIK There is no "day pass" for BART. –  nibot Aug 10 '12 at 19:21
    
BART has to do things differently from everyone else. There is no unlimited-ride pass at all on BART, not even for commuters. (Since 2010 there is a monthly pass inside San Francisco only, and SFMTA actually pays BART a fixed amount for each trip, so BART effectively does not offer unlimited travel for a fixed price in any way.) –  Gilles Aug 10 '12 at 19:44

2 Answers 2

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Unfortunately that's how it is. You can look at this site for clipper info and what can be loaded on it, but it seems that you have already. Here's the info about BART fares. You can buy the "High Value Discount" tickets in person in several places, you don't have to order it by mail necessarily. These are central locations which you undoubtedly are going to visit.

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You can also buy Clipper cards at SFO airport, from the information desk in the International terminal, just outside of the BART station. However I'm not sure if you can put any "passes" or "high value discount" money onto the card there. –  Doc Aug 11 '12 at 20:34

Yeah and by the way, I don't recommend using day-pass on Muni, in San Francisco. Single tickets are very convenient since they are valid for 90 minutes and paper tickets bought after 8.30pm are valid until early morning.

Single tickets cost $2 each, while a day-pass is $13 or so (you have to ride the bus very often to pay 6 single tickets in one day).

The clipper card is pretty convenient (you don't need exact change for every ride) and could be bought at any Walgreens.

And for visiting the city, Muni can usually be enough (unless you want to achieve a lot). Buses are slow (or city is large, put it the way you prefer) but you can see around and it's nice.

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The day pass can be worth it if you're planning on riding the cable cars: they are $6/ride and don't take or issue transfers, but they are covered by the day pass, so one round trip and you're almost broken even. –  BrendanMcK Aug 27 '12 at 3:20

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