AC Transit meeting in Richmond lays out fare proposal

AC Transit, the Bay Area’s third-largest transit agency, is seeking to increase ridership and improve route speed by introducing a day pass, boosting the use of electronic Clipper cards, eliminating timed bus transfers and lowering the price of local passes.

The proposed cost for day passes is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children, seniors and people with disabilities. Prices for Local Passes will change slightly with the proposal. Local Passes for adults will decrease from $80 to $75. However, for children, seniors and people with disabilities the price will increase from $20 to $23.

The proposal doesn’t change local single-ride fares, which stay at $2.10 for adults and $1.05 for children, seniors and people with disabilities. But the agency will offer Clipper card users a discount, charging a flat $1 or $2 fare.

The proposal was discussed at the Richmond City Council chambers last Wednesday evening.

AC Transit designed day passes to speed up boarding at stops, said Robert del Rosario, director of service development and planning. The day pass allows unlimited rides and replaces timed bus transfers, which can expire on riders before they get to their stop.

The agency is relying on electronic Clipper cards to entice riders to move away from paying with cash at stops, which del Rosario said slows boarding times.

The pre-paid Clipper cards, which work at nearly every mass transit agency in the Bay Area, allow for faster boarding. Riders can also use AC Transit Local Passes with the Clipper card, del Rosario said.

Riders paying with cash can still purchase non-electronic paper day passes.

Del Rosario said the proposal is a part of General Manager David Armijo’s plan to make changes that worked for other transit agencies.

AC Transit planned six public meetings, held this month in locations throughout its service area to inform riders about the fare proposal and get feedback.

The Richmond meeting was the last scheduled before the board of directors convenes to discuss the proposal during a public hearing on October 23. Riders can still submit feedback on the proposal by letter, phone, fax or email before the October 23 public hearing.

For information on submitting feedback, visit www.actransit.org/2013/09/23/fare-change-proposal-available-for-comment/.

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