BART may soon sell student-discount tickets online

Half-price BART tickets for high school students may soon be just a click away.

The tickets, which are sold at 148 public and private schools — including 47 in San Francisco — in the Bay Area, could soon be sold on the Internet under a pilot program by the transit agency.

BART officials are hoping to increase the number of discounted student tickets sold from the current 24,000 users and at the same time take the burden off school administrators, according to transit agency spokeswoman Luna Salaver.

Lorraine Andersen, a bookkeeper at San Francisco’s School of the Arts, said her school sells about 30 to 40 BART tickets each month. The school doesn’t make any profits from the transactions, and its ticket purchases are dictated by the previous month’s sales, Andersen said. She said students from SOTA can purchase two BART tickets at a time under the current program.

“This is done as a courtesy to the students,” Andersen said. “But we’re school administrators, not a box office, so it can be a bit of a hassle. I think everyone here would support an online program.”

Under the pilot program, students would be able to buy tickets online using a parent or guardian’s credit cards, with the tickets sent to their home in two days, according to BART documents. One student could purchase as many as four tickets a month.

The pilot program, which will go for approval before BART’s board of directors Thursday, would cost the agency $10,000 in upfront fees, and an additional $1.75 per transaction, which is paid to the software developer.

If approved, the program would likely take effect by the upcoming school year, with all interested Bay Area schools eligible to enroll, Salaver said. Schools have the option of keeping their existing student-ticket programs as well, Salaver said.

wreisman@examiner.com  

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