San Francisco Bay Area Transit Fare Discount to Start This Fall

Low-income transit users desperately need a break on fares. A discount is on its way, but won’t be available until later in the year, and transit advocates say it’s not enough.

1 minute read

January 17, 2019, 10:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


Muni San Francisco

Paul Sableman / Wikimedia Commons

Rachel Swan reports on the San Francisco Bay Area plan to provide a fare discount of 20 percent to low-income riders using BART, Caltrain, Muni, and Golden Gate ferries and buses. Implementation has been slow as the discount was approved last May but may not start until November.

Critics say the discount should be higher to address the economic hardships that low-income transit users are facing in the Bay Area, notes Swan:

Housing tends to be cheaper far away from job centers, which raises the price of commuting. For many people, it means more transfers, more complexity and more fares tacked on. And BART’s fare system, unlike that of some other metro rail lines, charges more for longer trips.

Advocates also say that other groups are already getting discounts — such as seniors and young people — and low-income riders should similarly get help in an area with an astronomical cost of living. 

Transportation officials acknowledge that the cost of transit is a burden and the discount is just one step in the right direction. But they are concerned about how the agencies will cover their portions of the $20.7 million annual cost of the program without cutting back on services.

Monday, January 7, 2019 in San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

Close-up of apartment rental listing on iPad or tablet device.

Colorado Becomes First State in US to Regulate AI for Bias

Under the new law, developers, deployers, and businesses using AI systems at “high-risk” for bias discrimination in critical areas like housing will be required to account for risks and be transparent about how the technology is being used.

51 minutes ago - People of Color in Tech

3D rendering of blue flying car over a cityscape and buildings, a river, and bridges in the background.

Minnesota Legalizes Flying Cars

A new Minnesota law outlines state registration of “roadable aircraft” and legalizes their use on state roads and highways.

1 hour ago - The U.S. Sun

Green highway signs on Highway 23 for Ann Arbor and Flint, Michigan.

Michigan DOT Nixes Ann Arbor Highway Expansion

In response to public feedback, the Michigan Department of Transportation is no longer considering options to widen U.S. 23 on Ann Arbor’s east side.

2 hours ago - MLive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.