From a Twitter source I rely on, Jerold Chinn has mentioned the city is working on a deal to possibly expand the Muni "A" Fast Pass access on BART to also include Daly City Station.
It's a big piece of news that's not getting a lot of media attention. Who wouldn't want extra access?
The "A" Muni Fast Pass
The Fast Pass provides passengers the opportunity to ride BART within San Francisco with no additional fare. It's been a big hit for those who lives near a SF BART station and needs to reach their workplace in downtown SF or attends City College of San Francisco because it gets them there quickly without the hassle of riding a bus.
But for SF State students, it's been a hot issue as the "A" pass does not cover Daly City Station; even though SF State is within San Francisco, Daly City is the closest station to the university campus. This forces students to choose to pay for BART in cash, or save money by taking a longer ride by utilizing Muni.
What's up with Daly City BART?
Daly City station is a very unique station as it lies right on the border between the two cities. Since BART declares Daly City Station not part of San Francisco, Muni does not have the privilege to allow their passengers to use their "A" fast pass, and all BART passengers who rides a train crossing the city border pays a surcharge, which costs a rider of a total of $2.95 to go from Daly City to Powell, and vice versa; while a ride starting and ending within SF is just a mere $1.75.
To compensate for the surcharge, Muni offers all exiting BART passengers a coupon (or Clipper e-transfer) to ride Muni's 28, 28L, and 54 lines for free away from the station, and a free ride back within 24 hours of the coupon issued.
SF State has also contributed to help people get to their campus with a free shuttle service where they run mini buses from the BART station to 19th Avenue & Holloway, and vice versa.
Combining the efforts of Muni's 28 and 28L, and the SF State shuttle has provided students a free way to get to the main campus, even though they pay a premium for the BART service to reach Daly City.
What would happen if BART allows the "A" pass to be accepted at Daly City?
Benefits to passengers:
- BART passengers who lives near Daly City and only rides BART to SF now has an unlimited ride option and would obviously save tons of money with a flat rate pass.
- Do the math: $2.95 one way from DC to Powell, times two (for round-trips), times 20 working days in January 2012 (not includes January 2nd and January 16th for holidays) = $118.00. By using a $70 pass, a passenger saves $48 a month, or $576 a year.
- Faster access for SF State students, meaning reduction in loads for Muni Metro's M-Ocean View and 29-Sunset lines (these are alternate ways to connect to SF State; M-Ocean View for downtown BART stations, and 29-Sunset for Balboa Park BART).
- Since no SF BART station has a parking lot, now there's a station that has one along the "A" pass boundaries. Perfect for those who attends games at AT&T Park and wants their car waiting for them after their BART ride, like me.
- Samtrans passengers who rides the feeder buses to Daly City also benefits with the flat price pass savings when riding BART.
- Increase in passenger loads on Muni's 28 and 28L lines.
- Increase in passenger loads on the SF State Shuttle.
- With a lower cost to ride BART and increases attraction to ride to work in downtown SF, it may cause higher demand for parking at the station's parking garage and lots.
- BART ticketing machines don't sell Clipper products, only e-cash. This means passengers would have to buy it at a retailer or at a Muni metro station.
- The possible end of free paper transfers for the 28, 28L and 54 Muni lines. If Muni is in a major financial problem, they'd likely kill the Daly City free ride transfers because it costs up to $4 per passenger for the free rides. Muni has to somehow compensate for the switch.
- Muni could decide to maintain the coupons for the Muni lines, but only offer the 25 cent discount, just like all SF BART stations have.
- Samtrans passengers may use BART Plus for unlimited rides on Samtrans and Muni, but doesn't give unlimited BART rides within SF/Daly City.
In my opinion, I think it's a great idea. It's a great way for SF State students to get to campus. This will also encourage more people to use Clipper to ride BART and Muni to get to/from campus.
Since I have a "M" pass, adding an extra $10 for the premium would help me during baseball season since a round-trip ride on BART from Daly City to Powell station already costs $5.90 round-trip. I would park my car at the station (free parking after 3PM weekdays and all-day on weekends), and take the train to/from the game.