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Integrated Transit-Fare System Earns Nod as Top Transformative Project

Proposal Could Boost Ridership, Ease Traffic
Peter Beeler

MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments this month named the integrated transit-fare system jointly proposed by Eddy Ionescu and Jason Lee as well as by Seamless Bay Area and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) as the winner of the Transformative Projects competition launched by MTC and ABAG in 2018, with the agencies awarding $500 grand prizes to the Ionescu/Lee team and to Seamless Bay Area.

The dizzying range of fares, discounts and promotions now offered by the Bay Area’s more than two dozen transit operators can challenge and confuse even the most experienced travelers when transferring from one system to another. Under the winning Transformative Projects submission, riders would be able to travel seamlessly between systems; making it easier to use transit to get around the Bay Area, and potentially boosting ridership and easing roadway congestion.

MTC and ABAG in June 2018 issued a Request for Transformative Projects, asking for project ideas that have the potential to revolutionize how we move around the Bay Area. The request was part of the agencies' Horizon initiative, which explored the challenges and opportunities likely to face the Bay Area between now and 2050. The Transformative Projects competition generated more than 90 separate submissions from individuals and organizations around the Bay Area. A jury of transportation experts in the fall of 2018 identified 12 finalists, which were then evaluated by MTC and ABAG staff staff as part of the Horizon Project Performance Assessment. A full list of the more than 90 proposals submitted is here. More information on the winning submissions can be found here.

Announcement of the Transformative Projects winners comes as MTC embarks on a fare-integration study it will co-manage with BART. The Commission in October 2019 approved $600,000 in Regional Measure 2 funds to support a fare coordination study with the goal of improving the passenger experience and growing transit ridership across the Bay Area. Oversight of the study will be provided by a new Fare Integration Task Force chaired by Caltrain/SamTrans CEO Jim Hartnett, with AC Transit General Manager Michael Hursh serving as Vice Chair. Other Task Force participants include members of the Clipper Executive Board; and the executive directors of the Solano Transportation Authority, the Napa Valley Transportation Authority and the Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority.

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