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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Easy Solution for SF State Students Regarding Change in BART-Muni Free Transfers to Clipper Cards

Clipper on Muni

Is there a solution for the upcoming change in free Muni rides for Daly City BART passengers that are also SF State students? If you recall from my previous posts (post #1 and post #2), Muni has decided to eliminate the transfers and go Clipper only starting June 1, 2012.

With the paper transfer, a student can take the SF State shuttle and still get a free ride back on Muni to Daly City BART. However, with Clipper, a student MUST ride Muni in order to ‘earn’ the free Muni return ride back to the BART station. With the campus providing the free shuttle, it eases the crowds on the Muni 28 line, but with the mandatory Clipper card transition, this will be a big problem as the flow of passengers will be uneven.

As I mentioned before, students have two options when they exit BART:
  1. Ride the Muni 28 away from Daly City to get free ride, and can choose the SF State shuttle or Muni 28 to get back to Daly City BART.
  2. Ride the SF State shuttle away from Daly City, and must take the SF State shuttle back to Daly City BART or pay $2 on Clipper card for return ride on Muni 28.

Due to the problem with the automatic voiding of the e-transfer, this will mean more people will ride the 28 line to SF State because they have two free options for the back to BART. By taking the shuttle away from BART, they are stuck with only one option for the free return ride.

Students interviewed by the Golden Gate Xpress said they hate the policy change from Muni.

I said to myself, how can this be easier for everyone? One idea I had is to install Clipper card readers on the SF State shuttles to validate the transfer for passengers to get a ride back to BART via Muni.  Now I realize that’s a very expensive option and shuttles would have to be taken out of service to install the equipment.

I thought of a very low cost, less confusing, and easy solution that will work:
Muni should allow SF State students, staff, and faculty to take the bus for free for the return ride back to Daly City BART (no Clipper card required).

How? Every student and employee of the campus carries their university ID. Students, faculty, and staff show their campus ID to the Muni operator at the 19th & Holloway bus stop for their free return ride.

The flashing of the campus ID is only good at 19th & Holloway and only for the route going to Daly City BART.

Passengers would have to follow the honor system to only exit at Daly City BART and not any of the interim stops between SF State and BART.

Cost wise, it wouldn’t make much of a difference than what’s happening right now with the paper transfers (take transfer, ride SF State shuttle away, and return to station on Muni). The Clipper card makes it challenging and students will be grumpy if they have to dish out an extra $2 because their e-transfer expired for not taking an away trip on Muni, or being forced to wait in long lines for the SF State shuttle.

What do you think of this idea?

1 comment:

Mario said...

Since all-door boarding is coming this summer, the driver will not be able to enforce payment when boarding. So fare inspectors would have to do that (some time after a rider boards), which means you can't require boarding at 19th and Holloway. However they could enforce that riders are presenting that ID only between 19th and Holloway and Daily City in the outbound direction.

Another option is to install a Clipper reader right outside where riders board the shuttle. This way you only need to install one Clipper reader rather than once per shuttle bus and also it would be installed on Muni (rather than SF State) property. Sounds like a decent compromise. In fact street-placed Clipper readers make sense for Muni too, especially if buses are over-crowded and the riders wants to ensure they can tag.