"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!"
(Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..."
(Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job."
(Brock Keeling, SFist)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How BART Rips-off Tourists When Leaving SFO

BART Train Map

BART's extension to SFO has been popular for travelers with decent prices that's less than a shuttle van and taxi, and gets passengers from the airport to downtown SF within 30 minutes. On the weekends, I notice the trains coming from SFO packed full of visitors and their luggage when I board the train at Daly City.

BART now offers visitors an option to pre-pay for their fare and pick-up their tickets at a counter nearby the main gates at SFO in terminal "G." The voucher page is a little hidden in the BART website, but once you find it, you click on the link and can buy the voucher online from a third-party official contracted vendor of BART.

You can purchase one of three options, a round-trip BART ticket from SFO to downtown SF stations, East Bay I (stations in East Bay, but closer to SFO), and East Bay II (stations furthest from SFO station).

Once you purchase the voucher, you print it and bring it to the nearby counter at the BART gates to claim it for BART tickets. The tickets will contain cash value similar to purchasing a ticket at a vending machine.

What's so bad about it?
It sounds simple, pre-pay and you get your tickets at a customer service counter.

Uh huh. How about the cost?

Here's a great example:
The printable voucher for a round-trip ride from SFO to a downtown SF station (Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, and Embarcadero) costs $18. There's no service fees, print-at-home charges, etc. It's just $18.

But checking BART's fare table, a ride from SFO to a downtown station costs $8.10, so a round-trip ticket would cost $16.20.

This means, BART is ripping tourists and visitors off by taking an extra $1.20 in profit for the online voucher program.

Based on the website, there is no details if the $18 voucher purchased online will give the passenger a $18 BART ticket, or a ticket valued at $16.10, but either way, if a passenger is only riding BART to and from SFO, it's a definite rip-off to purchase the voucher.

Just remember visitors, BART ticketing machines accept credit cards too, so save that $1.80!

1 comment:

Tony said...

BART ticket machines do accept credit cards. Not sure about SFO, but in many stations, not every single one of them accepts credit card, some accepts debit only.


It says "...plus one additional ride within the San Francisco city limits." that means it should be a $18 ticket.

I've also checked between Pittsburg/BP is $10.9 OW, while the RT ticket purchased online costs $22. What can a customer do with $0.2 left? Add for a new ticket? Donate to a charity that collects small tickets?

Anyway, I still think this program is meaningless. When their flight delays for hours and the booth became closed, they got nothing.

Smart tourists would buy it online only if there's a discount (i.e. pay $15 or $16 online and get a $16.2 ticket)