AC Transit bus passengers will get discounts and a more convenient way to pay for their bus trips under a new fare policy that will take effect on July 1. The agency’s Board of Directors aborted a fare increase that would have occurred this summer and opted last night to adopt a new system that promises improved bus service and other passenger benefits without higher fares.
The new fare policy is primarily designed to promote the efficiency and convenience of paying fares — and attract new riders — by eliminating paper transfers, instituting a Day Pass and offering local discounts for Clipper Card users.
“This new policy will streamline the fare process and, in doing so, make bus service much better for both the District and our customers,” said AC Transit General Manager David Armijo. “For passengers, it eliminates the need to carry or fumble with cash to pay fares or buy transfers. For the District, it reduces dwell time at bus stops, making the commutes faster and reducing the amount of fuel consumed when coaches sit idling at bus stops. Ultimately, it will attract more riders by making fares less expensive and service more efficient.”
To minimize fare box delays, speed up passenger boardings and dramatically reduce travel times, the new policy creates a Day Pass along with incentives to increase the use of Clipper Cards in lieu of paper transfers.
The Day Pass will allow unlimited local rides all day and cost $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth, seniors, and the disabled. The pass will be available with either Clipper Card or cash.
After Clipper Card users have paid fares of $5 (or $2.50 for youth, seniors and the disabled), the Day Pass will be activated and no additional funds would be deducted during the day. To entice more use of the card, card users will get a 10-cent or 5-cent discount, respectively, off their fares.
Bus riders also can buy the Day Pass with cash when they board the bus, then ride all day — as many times as they want-- without paying again. If the Day Pass is not purchased, the current full fare of $2.10 ($1.05 for youth, seniors and the disabled) would be required each time one boards the bus. At any rate, paper transfers will be unnecessary and thus no longer available.
The new policy alters AC Transit’s longstanding fare structure but is in line with practices at other transit agencies.