People who work at San Francisco International Airport, who already receive a nice discount for taking the train to the hub, are poised to receive an even bigger break from the regional rail operator.
In 2009, BART increased its airport surcharge fee from $1.50 to $4 as part of an effort to reduce a yawning budget deficit. However, after protests, the increase was waived for SFO-based workers.
Now, as part of an effort to attract more SFO-based workers to public transit, BART and airport officials are recommending a plan to eliminate the $1.50 surcharge.
Pending approval, the new fares would be in place by July, and the airport would reimburse BART $169,100 for the waiver. That number is based on the 112,733 BART trips taken by SFO-based workers last fiscal year.
If ridership drops under the new fare structure, SFO will reimburse BART an extra $1.50 for every trip below the baseline amount of 112,733. If ridership grows, BART will reduce its reimbursement request from SFO based on the same formula. The new setup is intended to be revenue neutral for BART.
BART and airport officials hope the new deal will attract more passengers to rail and reduce automobile congestion around the hub. Despite the reduced surcharge for SFO-based workers, their ridership on BART has remained stagnant at about 360 daily trips.
Under the new fare structure, a round-trip fare from the Civic Center station to SFO would cost a worker $8.50. It is currently $11.50 for SFO-based workers and $16.50 for regular riders.
BART’s board of directors is expected to vote Thursday on the proposal. If approved, it also would require authorization from the Airport Commission.