Update: Progress Towards Seamless Transit

Next step is the MTC Board

Image: Seamless Bay Area
Image: Seamless Bay Area

Different fares, different agencies, few if any free transfers or discounts, and uncoordinated schedules–taking transit in the Bay Area is challenging, to say the least. That’s why Seamless Bay Area has long campaigned for major governance reform and the creation of an umbrella organization to collect fares. Seamless is dedicated to creating a more European-style system where transit riders don’t have to decipher and pay for nearly 30 separate bus, ferry, and rail operators

Their advocacy efforts took a bit step forward this week at the MTC’s Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force, set up in May 2020. From a Seamless release:

We’re thrilled with the 27 draft recommendations that were presented and unanimously endorsed at the Task Force’s final meeting on Monday. The recommendations include implementing pilot fare integration programs, pursuing a network management business case this fall, and setting up a public process for a transformational transportation funding measure that can pass on the ballot in 2024. For more details, read the full draft of the Transformation Action Plan here.

Streetsblog reported previously on these recommendations, which, among other things, aim to make it so riders will pay a single, rational fare, based on some kind of zone system, no matter whether they are riding a ferry, BART, Muni, AC Transit, etc.

How often have you climbed up from the BART platform and missed your Muni transfer because of the awkward connection? Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
How often have you climbed up from the BART platform and missed your Muni transfer because of the awkward connection? Cutting these bars is the kind of thing Seamless aims to achieve throughout the Bay Area. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

If Seamless, with the help of readers and other transit advocates, keeps the momentum going, the hope is to achieve:

  • Free transfers between transit agencies and ‘go-anywhere’ transit passes by 2023
  • A new accountable Network Manager body, responsible for all Bay Area transit by 2023
  • Major service increases far above pre-pandemic levels across the Bay Area by 2025 – reducing wait and transfer times to get you where you need to go faster.

The Transformation Action Plan goes to the full MTC commission for consideration and possible approval on September 22. To prepare for it, Seamless is holding a strategy session this Sunday, August 1 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. RSVP here.

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