For most Bay Area households, transportation is the third-biggest monthly expense — trailing only the cost of housing and food.
MTC in 2015 launched a study to determine if a transit fare program based on household income would be feasible and effective.
The Regional Means-Based Transit Fare Pricing Study includes three main objectives:
- Make transit more affordable for low-income residents
- Move toward a more consistent regional standard for fare discounts
- Develop implementation options that are financially viable and administratively feasible
Our final report is expected in spring 2017.
A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was established to provide input and feedback on the study. The TAC consists of a broad-based group of stakeholders including representatives from public transit operators, social and human services agencies, academia and non-profit organizations. The TAC met four times through the course of the study:
MTC has long identified possible transit-affordability barriers for low-income riders, and has supported several initiatives to address the problem.
- Lifeline Transportation Program
- Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan
- Transit Sustainability Project
- Community-Based Transportation Plans
Key areas of focus for our pricing study include identifying:
- Possible fare structures and payment methods
- Eligible recipients
- Overall program costs
- Potential funding sources
- Impact on transit agencies’ fare revenue
- Relationships to existing discounts
- Technical challenges
Though MTC does not determine fare policies for the Bay Area’s transit agencies, we do have the authority to promote regional fare coordination.
We are funding the roughly $200,000 needed for this study through the State Transit Assistance program.