AC Transit will implement a new system for paying fares on Tuesday (July 1) to speed up the boarding process on buses and give passengers new ways to pay fares.
Officials at the bus agency, which provides service to 13 cities and surrounding areas in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, say the policy includes a day pass for local service, the elimination of paper transfers and discounts on local Clipper Card fares.
However, AC Transit officials stress that the new system doesn’t increase fares and say the costs for boarding will remain the same for both local and transbay service.
That means the fare for local service will remain $2.10 for adults and $1.05 for youths, seniors and the disabled.
The new day pass permits unlimited local rides all day and costs $5 for adults and $2.50 for youths, seniors, and the disabled. The pass, which will make paper transfers unnecessary, will be paid for either by using a Clipper Card or by paying cash.
Passengers who don’t buy a day pass will be required to pay a full fare each time they board a bus.
The new system, which was approved by AC Transit board members late last year, is being unveiled after months of planning, a host of community forums, a public hearing and a variety of public announcements.
AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said today that the idea is to reduce delays caused by passengers who pay by cash, speed up passenger boardings and reduce commute times.
Johnson said the new policy will make commutes more efficient by reducing the dwelling times of buses that are often delayed at bus stops by customers fumbling with coins and cash at fareboxes.
Johnson said AC Transit also will save on fuel costs because buses will spend less time idling while passengers board.
AC Transit General Manager David Armijo said in a statement, “Our aim is to make our service more reliable and financially efficient while offering our customers faster commutes along with better, smarter ways to pay fares.”
Armijo said, “The Clipper Card offers the greatest convenience and value. So we are encouraging our customers to get one and be ready to take advantage of the upcoming change.”
Armijo said, “It’s not often that a transit agency enacts a different fare structure that does not include a fare increase. But this is what we are doing in an effort to attract more riders by making fares less expensive and service more efficient.”
AC Transit officials said similar fare structures are in place at transit agencies nationwide, including at SamTrans and Santa Clara’s VTA in the Bay Area.
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