In the spirit of the holidays, BART will be handing out 120,000 free tickets to commuters tomorrow morning from 6 am to 9 am, what BART calls “an early holiday gift.” Each ticket will be valid for one ride anywhere in the system during the next three weekends, December 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th. BART will give pairs of free tickets to 60,000 commuters at the Downtown Berkeley, 12th St./Oakland City Center, Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell and Civic Center stations, while supplies last.
According to BART spokesperson Linton Johnson, a lot of people forget that BART accesses several of the busiest shopping areas in the region, from downtown San Francisco to Oakland to Walnut Creek. What’s more, said Johnson, “our parking spaces tend to be mostly empty on weekends, and they’re free. People tend to fight for that parking spot during holiday shopping. We’re killing two birds with one stone.”
The promotion will cost BART roughly $386,400 in ticket value (assuming average ride cost of $3.22), but Johnson said the agency believed the increase in ridership from friends and family traveling with the beneficiaries of the promotion would more than make up the expense. “In the end, people don’t make just one shopping trip, if we can increase just a percent or two, then we’ve improved our overall picture,” he said.
The funding for the promotion is part of a board-approved rider development fund. After use, the tickets will be returned by the fare gates but will have no remaining value and may be discarded. Further, after using the free tickets, recipients who visit bart.gov/shop to fill out a survey (available by the first day of the promotion) will be entered to win a Clipper card loaded with $300 worth of value.