If you thought the $55 cost for a Muni fast pass was totally crazy, just wait for the odd price change coming up on January 1, 2010.
SF Appeal reports SFMTA/Muni will raise the price of the adult Fast Pass to:
$60 without BART
$70 with BART
Update: The pass hike has been confirmed by the SFMTA on November 6, 2009.
Doesn't this remind you of the era of Mayor Frank Jordan when Muni changed their passes to reflect a "basic" pass that only gave passengers regular and limited buses, and the "premium" pass that included express buses, BART, and Cable Cars? The public was not happy and quickly changed their policies back to a single adult pass with all privileges.
For now... we just have to bite the bullet with the new pass structure. And once it goes into effect, make a big ruckus that this sucks.
Let's do a little bit of math:
For the average passenger, one day's worth of Muni rides is $4 a day.
- At $60 per person is 15 days to match the value of the pass.
- At $70 a person is 17 days, plus one ride to match the value of the pass.
Just to note, this does not count for days when you may ride Muni on weekends, take the Cable Car, and/or using the BART benefit. Using it more often will increase your savings.
But be aware, BART only costs $1.75 for a local ride within San Francisco, so while you get to your destination faster (assuming you don't need to transfer to a Muni bus), you'll lose 25 cents per ride than taking Muni using your pass.
- Doing the math on this, you need to ride BART within San Francisco six times to make it worthwhile to purchase the BART add-on feature (assuming if you also ride Muni round-trip at $4 per day).
- If you ONLY ride BART within San Francisco (NO MUNI RIDING) and use the BART privilege on the Muni pass, you must ride it 40 times in a month to break even.
How about the "BART Plus" pass, is there any savings?
The answer is no if you only travel on Muni, but actually worth it if you take BART outside of San Francisco and ride other agencies, except AC Transit, Caltrain, and Golden Gate Transit.
The cheapest one you can get is $86 a month ($43 half-month passes) and comes with $30 in BART fare value ($15 BART 15-day fare due to the half-month ticket policy). Inter-San Francisco free rides with the BART Plus ticket is not allowed.
Will Muni actually print two types of passes?
While there is no official answer, it would be in their best interest to at least sell the higher pass price to only be used with a Translink card. Why? BART station agents would not be repeating the same answer to Muni pass holders that their cheaper pass can't be used on BART. Plus, if a "cheap" pass holder rides BART with the Translink card, BART makes money on that trip since the fare is deducted from the user's e-cash purse.
But it should be noted that Muni will start replacing their metro fare gates with new Translink only gates starting with the Forest Hill station in January and full conversion should be completed by the end of 2010. With this fact in mind, it would just be beneficial and cost efficient to stop printing passes and get all pass users on Translink.
This is why I keep telling people, there's the potential for a shortage of Translink cards if a transit agency mandates all pass holders to switch from paper to an electronic card. Get your card NOW. You can buy one at a Walgreens location (green dots) if you don't want to buy one online at Translink's website.
Update (12/29): Muni has printed two types of passes. The "M" pass is $60 and the "A" pass is $70. TransLink also sells both types of passes online and at their automated machines, but if you are getting them automatically loaded on a monthly basis, your pass will be automatically converted to the $70 pass. If you need the "M" pass, tell TransLink NOW.