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Public Hearing Set on Proposal to Establish Means-based Fare Discount

July 30, 2019 12:00 AM

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) Board of Directors voted unanimously on Friday, July 26, 2019, to set a public hearing to receive public comment on the establishment of “means-based fares” that would provide a fare discount for low-income riders on Golden Gate Transit regional bus routes and regular (non-special event) Golden Gate Ferry service. The public hearing is set for Thursday, August 22, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, in San Francisco.

Transit affordability has been highlighted as an issue in the Bay Area, particularly for regional trips that are much longer and more expensive than local trips.

On May 23, 2018, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved implementation of a pilot Regional Means-Based Fare Program as a way to provide greater mobility options for low-income persons on participating transit systems in the Bay Area. Persons with income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (approximately $70,000 per year for a family of four in the Bay Area) would be eligible. The pilot program would have a duration of 12 to 18 months, depending on how quickly the available MTC funds (which partially offset the cost of the pilot program) are expended.

The pilot program is expected to begin in late 2019 and would be solely based on fares paid using Clipper cards.

Participating agencies may choose either a 20% or 50% discount from their currently available adult cash fares. Staff recommends the 50% discount, which aligns with the 50% discount currently offered to the District’s senior, persons with disabilities, and youth customers, regardless of income. From a policy perspective, it is more equitable to offer at least the same level of discount to low-income riders as is available already to seniors, persons with disabilities, and youths.

The extent of annual revenue loss has been estimated by MTC to be approximately between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per year for the District’s bus and ferry services. Of this amount, regional funding of between $300,000 and $500,000 would be available to offset a portion of the lost revenue. These amounts are solely estimates and are dependent on actual participation rates by the District’s low-income customers. MTC’s estimates do not include any assumptions for fare elasticities or ridership changes. The offset funds are currently programmed by MTC from SB-1 funds, the statewide gas tax.

Provide Your Input:

Public comments on this proposal to offer means-based fares can be submitted in several different ways:

  1. Attend the public hearing;
  2. E-mail; and/or,
  3. Send written comments to the District Secretary, P.O. Box 9000, Presidio Station, San Francisco, CA 94129-0601.

All comments are considered equally without regard to the manner in which the comments are submitted. Therefore, individuals do not have to attend the public hearing and provide testimony in person if they have commented through e-mail or written forms. All comments received through the above methods will be considered in the final recommendation. Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 23, 2019.

For more information about the proposal, read the full staff report at /assets/1/25/2019-0725-financecomm-no6-authpublichearingmeansbasedfares.pdf

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