Help Fare Integration Advance - Right Now

Greater Copenhagen’s zone-based fare map covers all forms of transit and the entire metropolitan region, providing predictability and fairness for transit users going to and from any part of the region, regardless of what transit agency operates service. Exploring the costs and benefits of such a system in the Bay Area will be part of the Business Case Study being considered by the Clipper Executive Board on September 16th.

Greater Copenhagen’s zone-based fare map covers all forms of transit and the entire metropolitan region, providing predictability and fairness for transit users going to and from any part of the region, regardless of what transit agency operates service. Exploring the costs and benefits of such a system in the Bay Area will be part of the Business Case Study being considered by the Clipper Executive Board on September 16th.

Good news - the process to do a business case study for regional fare integration is advancing after a rocky start in June.  On September 16 at 1:30pm in San Carlos, the Clipper Executive Board, made up of the executives of the region’s top transit agencies, is expected to review a “scope of work” to guide the study. The scope would then be reviewed for approval in October. 

At the last meeting in August, some Clipper Executive Board members cited transit rider interest and advocacy as part of the motivation to keep moving, despite uncertainty about how fare integration would be funded so that it won’t have a negative financial impact on transit agencies.  Seamless Bay Area is sensitive to the concerns of transit agencies, and believes that undertaking the proposed Business Case study to analyze the potential costs and benefits of regionally integrated fares, and to propose approaches that could fund costs, is the best way forward to ensure fare integration does not unintentionally harm service. 

There are two areas where it would be helpful to encourage the study to do the best job:

  • Fare integration, not just coordination. Wouldn’t it be great to have streamlined fares, so you didn’t need to pay more just because you use more than one color of transit vehicle (different agencies)?  Wouldn’t it be great for people who need to watch their budget to be able to predict how much using transit would cost in a month - with travel to a variety of places (not just using one transit agency with a single pass)? Having coordinated fares - like a uniform age for a youth discount - would be helpful, but without integrated fares, we will continue to discourage trips that require transfers between services and unfairly burden people who rely most on transit. 

  • Good customer research. It’s important for the report to be based on a rich understanding of how people use transit - and how they would use transit if fares were more coordinated, understandable, and predictable. 

You can help by taking any (or all) of the three following actions:   

  1. Send a note to the Clipper Executive Board and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission before September 16.  Scroll down for content you can copy and customize in your letter..

  2. If you haven’t yet, sign this petition supporting a Seamless Transit System around the Bay Area. As of today, 790 people have already signed - let’s get to 1,000 by September 16th! Having a long list of supporters helps transit agencies and regional boards understand that there is mass support. 

  3. Send a note to the boards of the transit services you use, urging them to move ahead with the fare integration business case study. Use the buttons below to quickly send letters.  

Recommendations for your letter to the Clipper Executive Board about the fare integration business case study (Action #1 above)

To: Martha Silver msilver@bayareametro.gov
Bcc: Seamless Bay Area info@seamlessbayarea.org
Subject: Business Case Study for Regional Fare Integration
Salutation: Dear Clipper Executive Board Members and MTC Commissioners

Points helpful to include in the letter 

  • Thank the decision-makers for moving ahead with this important study.

  • Say why you think integrated fares would be a good thing - more customer-friendly system, more transit ridership, more affordability and equity, less car-driving and climate pollution 

  • If you can, tell an anecdote about you or someone you know and how they would benefit from integrated fares

  • Encourage the study to include integrated fares, not just coordinated fares. Integrated fares would be the most user-friendly and have the greatest potential to increase ridership

  • Encourage the study to include rich customer research, in order to craft options that will encourage more transit ridership

  • Thank them again for listening to transit riders.

Adina Levin