Fast Passes near long-sought boost

Muni riders who purchase senior or disabled Fast Passes will soon be able to use the discount cards to ride BART in The City.

For years, seniors and disabled Muni riders have lobbied for a pass program that allows them to ride BART, the way holders of regular monthly Fast Passes can.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency directors Tuesday unanimously approved the Senior and Disabled Fast Pass Pilot Program, and BART directors are expected to approve it at their Sept. 11 meeting.

SFMTA Director Bruce Oka, a disability-rights advocate, cheered the decision.

“This has been a long time coming for me,” he said.

Disabled Muni rider Bob Planthold, who said he’s urged both transit systems to implement the program since the 1980s, said that for years, BART directors feared the program would invite fraud, while Muni’s past leadership saw the program as “a contract issue, not a justice issue.”

BART Director Tom Radulovich said Tuesday that the fraud issue had been addressed and “put to bed.” All participants in the pilot program will be required to carry both their $10 pass and a valid form of identification at all times to verify age or disability.

The program, which is scheduled to start within the next 12 months, will be limited to 2,000 riders for the first six months, then expanded to 5,000, according to Muni officials. Passengers who sign up for a pre-registration drive will be assigned a number and program participants will be picked in a lottery-style selection process.

SFMTA will shoulder the $199,000 startup expenses of the program, and BART will pay $25,000 a year in ongoing expenses for maintaining the 12- to 18-month program.

In other news

  • The board of directors adopted the Fourth-Stockton alignment as the preferred alternative and adopted state environmental review findings for the agency’s Central Subway project.
  • The board authorized a request for proposals for a new vehicle-advertising vendor.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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