Fare Integration Takes One Step Forward, One Step Back

By Roger Rudick

Senate Bill 917, the Seamless Transit Transformation Act, died last Thursday in committee. This is a serious bummer for supporters of an integrated, rational transit system for the Bay Area. As the bill’s author, Josh Becker, and its co-sponsors at Seamless Bay Area tweeted below:

    "Bay Area transit continues to be a work in progress by 27 agencies. #SB917 sought to provide riders with #SeamlessTransit & a passenger experience akin to the world’s best. I’ll still work toward this goal.

    "TY @seamlessbayarea & transit advocates.

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of Seamless Bay Area, one initial element of an integrated transit system—the creation of a pass that works across different operators—is moving going forward despite the bill’s failure. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has launched a two-year pilot program for a universal student pass that will work on all Bay Area operators that use Clipper.

It remains unclear why S.B. 917 never got off the “suspense file” in the Appropriations Committee, leading to its downfall. Decisions about which bills are released from the suspense file are made away from the public eye and the reasoning behind them is rarely disclosed publicly.