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AC Transit considers changes to day pass

Published: Friday, December 13, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 13, 2013 15:12


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Psychology major Brandy Newton pays for a single fare on a AC Transit bus at the Bus Transfer Center on Monday. The proposed change would not affect single fare prices.

Riders on AC Transit could see a change in fare structure that would eliminate local transfers and implement a day pass system in an attempt to boost clipper card usage.

The transit’s Board of Director will discuss the changes at its meeting today at its general offices on Franklin Street in Oakland at 5 p.m. and possibly decide to pass the fare change proposal or refuse to adopt it.

“All of this is to offer a better way to pay,” Media Affairs Manager Clarence Johnson said. “The biggest hindrance to bus time schedules is the passenger boarding time.”

According to the meeting agenda, the proposal is meant to improve the efficiency and convenience of the fare payment system. The change will also allow unlimited number of bus transfers per day. AC Transit currently charges 25 cents per bus transfer.

“This would considerably speed up things and the benefit to the rider is that there is no cash involved, unless they do not have a clipper card,” Johnson said.

Single ride fare will not be affected and would remain the same price.

The 25 cent transfer fee would be replaced with an adult day pass priced at $5 and a $2.50 day pass for young, elderly and disabled passengers.

To encourage clipper card usages, AC Transit is considering offering a 10 cent fare reduction for clipper card payments for adults, and a 5 cent discount for children’s, the elderly and disabled persons’ fares.

Clipper cards could the make transition of a day pass easier because of the option to charge $2 for the first and second ride, $1 for the third and any other subsequent trips in a single day would be free.

The local adult and discounted 31-day pass prices would also see changes
The proposal calls for charging $75-$80 for an adult 31-day pass.

But the discounted youth, senior or disabled 31-day pass would increase from $20 to $23.

When asked if the higher usage of clipper and a day pass system could lead to a quicker turnaround time for riders, Anthony Wofford, driver of bus 1009, said yes.

“Oh definitely yeah. I think it’d be a lot faster and most people tend to forget to ask for a local transfer if they don’t ride too often,” Wofford said.

Passengers who do not ride the bus regularly are not likely to notice the change if it happens.

Contra Costa College health and human services major Ana Martin said, “I just pay my single fare only a couple times a week when I do ride so the changes in fare shouldn’t impact me.”

Dulce Witrago, an automotive services major, said she could possibly see the fare change improving ridership.

“When I got off the bus earlier I forgot to ask for a transfer and now I have to pay again,” she said. “Something like a day pass would cut down my worrying about paying for the bus and I could board the bus hassle free.”

Berkeley resident Benny Wiggins disagrees.

“Simply put, there are not enough people using clipper cards because not everyone rides the bus so they’re not going to pay for a 31-day pass if they only board twice a month or every couple of weeks,” Wiggins said.

“I tried to start a petition to lower the price for a 31-day pass cause I hate paying $80 and when I was a student here a lot of my financial aid went to paying for the bus.”

The decision to implement the proposed fare structure change or not should be voted on at its meeting this evening at 5 p.m. at the AC Transit Board of Director’s meeting at its general offices in Oakland. 

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