SF State students land first-ever BART discount

Discounted monthly Muni passes and BART rides are the next stop for San Francisco State University students, after a student-led initiative was approved last month.

The university’s student government, known as the Associated Students, put forth a transit referendum during its elections on the week of April 11. Online results show the referendum passed with 73 percent of students voting “yes” and 27 percent of students voting “no.”

The “Gator Pass” will provide students unlimited rides on Muni buses and light rail, and at least a 25 percent discount on BART rides starting in the fall of 2017. All students will pay a fee of $180 per semester, which will most likely increase by $5 a year to accommodate increases in transit fares.

Students who use Muni regularly will save approximately $25 a month, but savings may differ from individual students depending on if they also take BART, according to the Associated Students website.

Other local universities like the University of San Francisco already offer students a discount on Muni monthly Fast Passes, but San Francisco State will be the first university to include a discount on BART.

The university will issue upgraded student ID cards that will also serve as Clipper cards, according to Associated Students. The pass will be only available to students attending fall or spring semesters.

In order to take advantage of the BART discount, students either have to begin or end their trip at the Daly City BART Station.

Students have worked on gaining support for the transit pass for a number of years, but an increasing cost of living in the Bay Area brought students leaders back to talk about the discount pass again.

Marcus Ismael, former president of the College Democrats at the university, spoke to SFBay last year about why it was important for students to receive a transit discount. Ismael had started a petition to gain support for the pass:

“Students are living farther and farther away from campus to save in housing costs, but what they save in rent and additional costs associated with living close to campus or in San Francisco is lost in time on a train or a bus, and for transit fares themselves which have steadily risen.”

Transit monthly Muni Fast Passes will increase again in a budget approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors last month. An adult “M” Fast Pass will raise from $70 to $73 in September.

KQED News reports that the transit referendum still needs approval by the Associated Students president and by California State University Chancellor Timothy White.

The transit referendum said a body of students and administrators will monitor the program and make any changes necessary to the program:

“Any university review resulting in a proposed modification to the program will result in a recommendation to the Student Fee Advisory Committee, a majority student committee, for approval through an alternative consultation process. Should the program enter into a deficit in any given semester, the university may elect to discontinue the program; in any such instance, no fee will be collected.”

Meanwhile, BART Board Director Nick Josefowitz, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Supervisor Scott Wiener  have all come out to support the student transit pass.

Josefowitz said in an email to SFBay:

“It’s expensive enough to live in this region, and we should be doing all we can as a community to give people a break on the cost of getting to school. Especially for those who are making the right choice, and deciding not to buy a car and clog up our roads. That’s why what the students did was so important, and will hopefully provide a model for other colleges around the Bay Area.”