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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Muni, Samtrans, VTA & Dumbarton Express Not Part of BART Plus Program Starting January 1, 2013

Back in mid-September, I reported the SFMTA was considering to drop their participation in the BART Plus program.

If you are not familiar with BART Plus, it's both a BART ticket with stored value and a flash pass good for unlimited rides on partner agencies.  This made it perfect for those who needs to take a feeder bus to a BART station without the need to buy multiple passes, and kept it at a simple set price structure so if you need more BART fare on the Plus ticket, you can.

BART Plus was the perfect model of a multi-agency pass, giving passengers many choices, but starting January 1, 2013, BART declared four more nails in the coffin of the BART Plus program, effectively putting it on its own death bed.

Starting January 1, 2013, the following agencies will not accept BART Plus: Muni, Samtrans, VTA and Dumbarton Express.

The only partner agencies the BART Plus ticket will be valid on after January 1: County Connection, Rio Vista Delta Breeze, Tri Delta Transit, Union City Transit, WestCAT and Wheels.

Akit's Opinions:
These severe cuts to the program will only allow access to the very small transit agencies.  All the big agencies that BART Plus users have depended on for a very long time will now be forking more money to ride the big agencies for their daily commutes.  The loss of AC Transit to BART Plus was its first downfall, but losing Muni, Samtrans, VTA and Dumbarton Express is extreme.

BART's reason for this: "...because they (the transit agencies ending on 1/1/13) are using the Clipper Card for travel on their systems."  What a lame excuse.  So what?  Just because these agencies now accept Clipper doesn't mean BART Plus shouldn't be honored.  There has to be another reason why... is it because BART wants more money, or does the participating agencies realize it's a severe money loss?

BART Plus will always be remembered as the perfect program for a one pass solution to ride most (not all) transit agencies for decent price.  The loss of the four major agencies is horrible for commuters.  Many people have been asking Clipper to create a one pass solution, but these greedy ass transit agencies wants to not be friendly and force us passengers to dish out more money for transit fares.

BART, Muni, Samtrans, VTA, and Dumbarton Express: YOU MAKE ME SICK.


Anonymous said...

I read in the SamTrans hearing notes that the BARTplus program was intended for use as a free transfer from or to BART and not as a use as a bus pass. Supposedly it was discovered that 90% of plus users used as a bus pass. The problem was that BART was not reimbursing the local agencies very much if at all for the rides. The solution to doing away with BARTplus would be have everyone using Clipper get a local transit fare credit deduction from their BART fare for having to buy a pass or use their ecash. Another really good idea would be something like the Pugetpass program run in Seattle which would have people buy passes for their longest typical BART trip (longer trips would have the extra come from ecash). This would also allow for a simpler Clipper system which appears to be the most complex system possible in its current implementation.

Anonymous said...

I know you're not in the south bay, so I'll help you with a bit of VTA research.


Subtracting the Stored BART Value from the BART Plus cost gives a cost of about $28/half month cost... or $56/month. But unlike the Bart-to-Bus transfer tickets, these are good not just for trips on lines starting in Fremont.


Cost for an equivalent VTA pass is $70/mo.

I have no idea how much or when VTA gets money from other agencies (Bart plus, 2+ zone Caltrain monthly passes) since there's no real accounting done between what types of passes are used, or whether they are even used (e.g. light rail trains), but if people are using BART Plus as monthly flash passes, the agencies certainly aren't getting their share. Perhaps instead Bart needs to increase the costs of these passes and pass the revenue onto their partners.