Means-Based Fare Study | Plans + Projects | Our Work

Means-Based Fare Study

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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 fall 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.

These include:

  • 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.