Saturday, March 30, 2013

The return of the day pass

Will this entice more people to ride the bus or train?
The METRO Board of Directors today took the first step to bring back the “day pass.” The Board voted to commit $175,000 to adapt METRO’s Q Card system so a $3.00 extended “day pass” feature can be accommodated later this year. The action allows METRO to modify an existing contract with ACS/Xerox so software can be adjusted to accept this fare payment option.

The action, at today’s monthly METRO Board meeting, follows requests from the riding public and is a necessary step in reintroducing the popular fare which was discontinued in 2008 when the METRO Q Card was introduced. 
My recollection is that METRO did away with the day pass in 2008 not only to simply fare structures and encourage use of the Q Card, but also because there was a sense that the paper day pass available at the time was being abused (for example, people were giving away their day passes to others with they were through using them). However, the day pass was popular amongst riders, especially “choice” riders, and its disappearance made METRO one of the few major transit agencies in the nation that did not offer such an option. So I think this is a good decision on the transit authority's part.

The new day pass option will be limited to Q Card holders, at least for now:
The day pass would allow customers with the Q-Card to ride all day for $3. The initial and second use of the card under the Day Pass would cost $1.25 each, then $0.50 for the third boarding, and free afterward through the day.
For what it's worth, $3 compares favorably with prices for day passes on other nearby major transit agencies: New Orleans RTA charges $3 for a 1-day Jazzy Pass, you’ll pay $4 to ride all day on San Antonio VIA, and in Dallas a DART day pass will set you back $5.

According to information provided to METRO's Board of Directors at yesterday’s meeting, the return of the day pass is anticipated to attract an additional 1.3 million riders per year.

UPDATE: Kuff has more.

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