April 30, 2013

Calif.’s AC Transit defers fare increase

At a recent board of directors meeting, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) approved a staff recommendation to defer a 15 cent fare increase that was scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

This unprecedented step, welcomed by members of the public in attendance, was taken in the context of the full review of AC Transit’s fare policy underway since last fall.

Taking a fresh look at the agency’s fare structure and fare media was initiated by GM David Armijo, who came to AC Transit one year ago.

With the objectives of increasing ridership, Clipper usage and revenue, staff is exploring and analyzing these potential changes:

•    Lowering the basic adult fare to $2 (and other fares accordingly).

•    Eliminating transfers and moving to a pay-per-boarding system.

•    Introducing a reasonably priced day pass that is available on-board and on Clipper cards.

•    Introducing a 7-day pass, available only on Clipper.

At the board meeting, staff and board members concurred that key to the success of any new passes, and any efforts to increase Clipper usage, will be an expansion of Clipper sales locations. Staff committed to working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, administrator of the regional Clipper system, to see that acquiring Clipper cards and loading value become much easier throughout the AC Transit service area.

Staff outlined a prospective schedule of steps toward a new fare policy, with a formal proposal to the board in August, a public hearing in October and implementation in mid-2014.

Read the full staff memo here.

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