Today’s Headlines

  • Despite SF’s New Bike Parking Ordinance, 20%-by-2020 Cycling Goal Remains Elusive (SFBG)
  • BART Puts Weekend Fare Reductions, Frequency Improvements On the Table (SF Examiner)
  • BART Could Shift $800 Million In Operating Funds to Buying New Train Cars (SF Examiner)
  • Despite Controversy, Doyle Drive’s Public-Private Project Financing Likely the First of Many (Bay Citizen)
  • Bay Bikers Blog: San Francisco Can Look to Cities Around the World for Leadership in Bike Share
  • Sunday Streets Kicks Off On Embarcadero This Weekend (SF Appeal)
  • Toll Lanes Catching On In Bay Area, Numbers Show (CoCo Times)
  • Volvo Unveils World’s First Car With Pedestrian Airbags (SFGate)
  • Oakland Bay Bridge Touchdown Park Plans to Include a Rail Yard (CBS 5)
  • Rural Communities Question Plan Bay Area’s Smart Growth Goals (Mercury News)
  • East Bay Oil Refineries Increase Exports as Domestic Demand Declines (Bay Citizen)
  • World Naked Bike Ride Demonstration Against Fossil Fuel Dependence This Saturday (SFGate)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • SteveS

    The weekend discounts on BART are a great idea; it’s great to see at least one transit agency trying to be entrepreneurial! 

    I could see this actually getting me to ride BART more for shopping on weekends – right now it costs about the same to rent a ZipCar for two hours as it does for two people to take BART to the South City Costco and back, but if they halved the fare I think we would switch to taking BART.

  • Sprague

    I agree.  At one point a good number of years ago, BART did have a weekend family fare in place.  Making transit financially enticing to car owning families is something some European rail and transit operators have done.  In the Bay Area, where some highways seem to be even more congested on weekends than they are on weekdays (like I-80 in Berkeley and 101 near the Golden Gate), transit agencies could grow their weekend ridership with more innovative and attractive pricing.

  • Restoring the 15-min headways and lowering rates on weekends would be huge. I would definitely use BART a lot more.

  • J

    The 20% cycling goal is ridiculous unless SF makes a real commitment to high-quality bike infrastructure. If it continues to take two or more years to complete each 3 block stretch of protected bike lane, the city will be lucky if the pace of increase changes much at all.

    NYC has been installing 50 miles of bike lanes per year, many of them protected, and Chicago will be installing 25 miles of protected bike lanes per year for the next 4 years. Both are rolling out large bike share systems this summer. SF, on the other hand, is installing the JFK bikeway and maybe the Fell & Oak bikeway. There isn’t much else on the table in terms of protected bike facilities in key locations. The bikeshare is anemic, and will cater only to a niche market. Setting lofty goals is great, but meeting them requires actually doing the hard work and facing down some political opposition.

  • If the city couldn’t achieve 10% by 2010, how will it get to 20% by 2020? By creating something like gridlock in San Francisco.

  • Andy Chow

    I don’t think having a separate weekend fare is a good idea, since it wouldn’t improve the riding experience significantly. (The hassles of buying a BART ticket won’t change, except you would get two different fare tables that you would have to figure out.) I think a better plan is to allow kids ride free (for older kids) with a fare paying adult.

    I am not a fan of the 15 min night and weekend headways. When BART had them, BART still had 20 minute base headway on Saturdays (when two other lines still run), so for stations that only have service by a single line, service on Saturdays is less frequent than on Sundays (Saturday generally has higher ridership). Not only that, it complicates bus schedule planning (you can’t have the same bus schedule and frequency on weekends) if you want to match the train times with bus times.

  • Greg Henderson

    And I wonder who had something to do with that? Most people need well-designed facilities to make them feel comfortable enough to bike and you stood directly in the way of that.

  • Agreed. Looking solely at the operating costs of weekend trains is missing the boat. The big investment was the capital expense of building the train, not leveraging that by trying to increase weekend utilization is bad policy.

  • $10 gasoline. QED.

  • The hassles of buying a BART ticket won’t change, except you would get
    two different fare tables that you would have to figure out.

    Discount for Clipper users only. QED.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    The hassles of buying a BART ticket won’t change

    WTF?  I’ve a tens of billions of problems with BART, but never even dreamed of this one.

    two different fare tables that you would have to figure out

    How to “figure out” BART fare tables in Two Easy Steps:
    Step 1: Pass through entry gate.
    Step 2: Pass through exit gate.
    A friendly machine — just like in The Future, there are Robots Here to Serve You — does all the figuring out for you!  You can use all those four-billion-years-of-evolution neurons filling your head to do something more useful than dealing with two awful fare tables.
    Eradicting leishmaniasis, developing direct solar-to-liquid-fuel catalysts, or something.

    Here’s how to implement BART off-peak fares in Two Easy Steps:
    Step 1: BART Board passes resolution.
    Step 2: Two line code change made to gate (and add-fare) software.

  • How to “figure out” BART fare tables in Two Easy Steps:
    Step 1: Pass through entry gate.
    Step 2: Pass through exit gate.

    There is this strange population of BART rider who rides the system twice a year and does not carry around a BART fare card or a Clipper Card at the ready. They go to the machine, look up the cost of the ticket, and buy a ticket for that exact amount. Maybe you think this group of people should be disregarded, but that’s different than the point you are making.

  • SteveS

    I would think the people who ride BART infrequently and look at the fare tables are probably among BART’s most price-sensitive customers, so off-peak fares would increase their usage more than average. BART already has separate maps for peak and off-peak service; I don’t think having separate fare tables would be that confusing for any one.

    People are already used to off-peak pricing at movie theaters, the Bay Bridge, etc.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    There is this strange population of BART rider who rides the system twice a year and does not carry around a BART fare card or a Clipper Card at the ready.

    Honestly?  BART could ignore them and it would make no difference to anything, except perhaps SFGate reader commentary.

    And of course we recently wasted two billion dollars building an airport line for pretty much exactly that class of people.  Even with two extra quality minutes determining the exact change required twice a year, they’re still coming out way billions ahead.

    And how about that $400+ million and ever-climbing for TransLink(tm)(c)(sm)(r) that was justified, to the token extent that it was, by a “need” to make things “simpler” for people who don’t ride transit in the first place and parped that up as an excuse, and who still don’t ride transit?

    Orders of magnitude, people.  Get a grip on orders of magnitude.

    High fares are a two order of magnitude higher deterrent to BART ridership that mental overload associated with fare tables.

  • Andy Chow

    The infrequent riders are less sensitive about costs. At the same time I don’t think they would want to overpay by putting a $20 or more on a BART fare card or getting a Clipper.

    Wonder why tourists would pay $40 for a day pass to ride on double deck tour buses in SF when you and I would just stick with Muni? Why that almost every transit agency provides a large fare discount for frequent riders? As we all know, BART provides very little discounts for regular riders.

    If BART were to lower their weekend fare, it will generate some ridership increases, but it won’t make the ticket buying process any easier. It would take just as much time, just as much confusion, and just as long lines. On days when there’s a special event and BART has to run longer trains, BART would probably lose revenue. So I think if BART were to pursue any strategy to encourage weekend travel, they should do something that would improve the travel experience (which ticket buying is a part of) and less focus on revenue. That’s why I think something along the line of kids-ride-free would be preferable.

    Of the idea to just offering the discount to riders who have Clipper (targeting those who ride transit regularity), that’s nothing wrong with that too.

  • TN

    BART has no childrens’ fare except for a restricted program for middle school and high school students. This is unlike most other transit systems where the common practice is a discounted childrens’ fare.

    Having children be able to ride for free with an adult on weekends might be one way to give families with children some incentive to use BART.