Bay Area transit agencies are ringing in the new year with some fare increases and policy changes effective Wednesday, all intended to provide an improved customer experience.
BART passengers will pay an extra 19 cents per ride on average, a 5.2 percent increase, as the board of directors voted in February to continue its current inflation-based fare increase program to generate revenue for the aging system.
Of BART riders surveyed, 60 percent supported small, “predictable” increases like the one taking effect. The renewed program gives the green light for fare increases in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 for an expected $325 million in revenue for new projects. Among the efforts are the purchase of Fleet of the Future train cars; a control system that will run trains more frequently; and the Hayward Maintenance Complex to serve the new fleet, as well as support future service to Silicon Valley.
“We understand no one wants to pay higher fares, but riders should know this money can only be spent on these identified projects which will benefit passengers,” BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in a statement earlier this month.
Also Wednesday, Muni prices will increase to $15 for a one-day passport, $23 for a three-day passport and $29 for a seven-day passport. Unlike other fares that increased at the start of the fiscal year, visitor passport prices increase at the start of the calendar year to avoid the transition during the peak season for tourism, according to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose.. All fares, fees and fines are expected to generate $1.6 million for the agency.
The Muni 10-ride book, created in 2003 to replace coin tokens and allow customers to pre-purchase single-ride fares, will no longer be available for purchase Wednesday. The ticket book did not provide a discount to customers, offering 10 rides for $20, and was transitioned to the Clipper card. Existing ride books will expire July 1.
“This is an opportunity to simplify the customer experience and ultimately improve system performance,” Rose said.