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Sunday, April 22, 2012

No More Paper Transfers at Daly City BART - Going Clipper Only June 1st

BART Gate & Clipper Card
Some not so great news for those of you who love the yellow paper transfers at the Daly City BART station's paid area...

Effective June 1, 2012, the machines will be taken out of service and those who ride BART and transfer to Muni must use a the same Clipper card they exit BART to get a free Muni ride away from the station (as per Muni updates page).

How it works:
When you exit BART at Daly City (regardless if you pay with e-cash or HVD), you will automatically receive an e-transfer encoded on your card.  When boarding a Muni bus (14L, 28, 28L, and 54) and tagging your card, you will receive a free ride and get your card automatically encoded for a free ride back to the BART station within 24 hours.

[Big secret] perk:
The Clipper system is a little bit dumb.  Let's say you exited BART and took the 28-19th Avenue bus away from the station.  You get off at Geary Blvd. & Park Presidio and you want to transfer to the 38L.  Because the Clipper system (for Muni) does not know what bus route you are riding or which direction, your second ride (on the 38L) is FREE.  This works on all Muni lines, it doesn't have to be the 38L.

This basically means, you get two free rides regardless of whatever line and direction you take, as long as you meet these minimum rules:
  1. You tag your card on a Muni bus within one hour of exiting Daly City BART.
  2. You take your second ride on a Muni bus within 24-hours when you complete the above task.
Unlike the two part paper transfer, you can only use the paper transfer to leave BART and return to BART.  Clipper: Free reign!

One disadvantage is if someone picks you up from the station or you take your car home from the BART lot.  If you take a paper transfer and get an alternate ride home, getting back to BART via Muni is free because you still have a piece of paper giving you the right to a free ride back.  But with going Clipper only, your free ride the next day is void because of the one hour rule when exiting the station.

The second (and WORST) disadvantage is if you ride the SF State shuttle.  This is going to be the biggest headache.  Back in May 2011, I mentioned about this big problem and said the easiest way to beat the problem is with the yellow paper transfer.

Here's the problem: Let's say you exited Daly City BART, earned your e-transfer on your card, and take the free SF State shuttle away from the station.  When you want to return to BART from SF State, you are left with two options:
  1. Take the SF State shuttle back to Daly City BART (free ride, no Clipper required).
  2. Take the 28 or 28L bus back to Daly City BART, and it will cost you $2 because after one hour after you received your e-transfer from leaving the BART station, it becomes VOID on the Muni ride back.
Option two becomes a big issue.  Lots of SF State students take the yellow transfer and can easily decide while waiting in the SF State shuttle line (back to BART) that if they see a 28 bus approaching, they'll take that instead and get their free ride.  But... with going Clipper only on those BART transfers, they'll learn that they lost $2 from their Clipper e-cash because they took the SF State shuttle to campus instead of Muni.

Is there an easy solution?  The answer is no.  You have to remind yourself:
  • "If I take the SF State shuttle to campus, I must take the shuttle back to BART."
  • OR: "If I take the Muni 28/28L to campus, I have the option to take either the SF State shuttle or 28/28L back to BART."
The SF State problem is the most challenging.  I am hopeful that the city, BART, Muni, and SF State officials can work out a deal that allows all SF State affiliates, including the staff and faculty the privilege to have free BART rides extended to Daly City station.  If you want to read more about this possibility, click here.

1 comment:

Tony said...

It has been a week since this post, so Muni has probably fixed the problem.

My parents got my Muni Fast Pass today, so I decided to use another e-cash Clipper to give this a try.

I rode BART from Walnut Creek to Daly City, then 28, free transfer. However, the 29 charges me $2 correctly. That means free transfers should only work on the designated lines.

Another solution to the SF State problem:
Whether they ride 28 North to school or not, they'll still be charged $2 on 28 South, then they get $2 off their BART ride when they enter at Daly City. Riders who will enter at Daly City don't even need to ride BART earlier the day in order to get a free ride on Muni.

This will also benefit other riders, such as someone riding 28 to Daly City and then BART to SFO. However, this is not what the free transfer program was intened for. The transit systems assumed the transfer machines still exist by requiring a BART ride 1st when transferring.

Similarly, I think the 25-cent discount should also apply on simply transferring from Muni to BART, without requiring a rider to ride BART and Muni 24 hours before.

When transferring between Golden Gate Transit and Muni, riders (except Muni pass holders) will automatically get the 50-cent discount. There's no need to ride GGT and Muni in the past 24 hours, in order to get a discount from Muni to GGT. BART, Muni and AC should really consider this.