TRANSDEF proposes several self-financing pricing reforms. These measures, along with the enhanced transit network and Smart Growth land use, work together synergistically to slow the growth in auto trips, providing better regional model results than more conventional Alternatives:
● BART will charge $2.00/day for parking at a list of high-demand stations.
● As a mitigation for the traffic otherwise generated by new housing and as a mitigation for reduced parking requirements, developers will enter into permanent contracts with transit operators to provide each resident with a monthly transit pass. Tenants will pay for the “eco-pass” in their rent, and owners of condominiums and townhouses will pay through their condo fee. All new residents of the region thus have a zero effective cost to jump on transit, thereby offsetting the large hidden subsidy for the automobile caused by government requiring building owners to provide parking, often for free.
● Parking Cash-out is one of the most promising elements of Commuter Choice. Research has shown that up to 15% of employees stop driving to work if they are offered the cash equivalent of free employee parking or a free transit pass. City approval of conversion of surplus parking areas to economically productive uses will further reinforce the densities that make transit popular and cost-effective, and give the employer an incentive to provide cash-out. Because MTC is still unable to model parking cash-out, the model treats parking cash-out as if a parking charge of $5 were being collected each day.
● Employers will be encouraged to offer Commuter Choice to their employees, a package of incentives for employees to commute by modes other than single occupant auto. This includes Commuter Check, Parking cash-out, Guaranteed Ride Home, and bike parking and showers. While less common, concierge service and nearby services at lunchtime support not driving alone
Legal Authority for Pricing Programs
MTC believes there will not be enough revenue available to increase transit service for its Alternatives. The TRANSDEF Alternative, on the other hand, includes a significant increase in transit service. This was accomplished by eliminating highway projects as well as transit projects that were not cost-effective, and by creating new pricing policies, described above. TRANSDEF believes that MTC has the legal authority to implement this system of pricing programs without additional legislation. As the agency responsible for allocating transportation funding, TRANSDEF believes that MTC has the authority to allocate its funding in response to decisions by local jurisdictions that contribute to better transportation conditions throughout the region. If jurisdictions fail, for example, to require housing projects to make monthly transit pass purchases, for example, MTC could withhold a portion of funding that would otherwise go to that jurisdiction.
Transit Transfer PoliciesTo the extent possible within the limitations of MTC's model, TRANSDEF sought to eliminate cost as a barrier to transferring between transit routes and between transit systems. Instead of relying on a technological fix such as Translink, TRANSDEF implements a free transfer policy. By encouraging transit use, this cost achieves a benefit for all residents of the region: It removes both short distance and long distance drivers from the roads.
The San Francisco Municipal Railway moves the greatest number of transit passengers everyday in the region. MUNI operates with a combination of proof-of-payment (pre-paid tickets with roving fare inspectors) and free transfers. The MUNI Fastpass, is a simple multi-ride pass that can be shown to a driver, used in a subway faregate or shown as proof of payment. BART and MUNI also have a helpful and long-standing agreement to allow Fastpass holders to ride BART "for free" within San Francisco. Low-tech solutions like Fastpass increase ridership without the need for costly technology-based solutions. New York City MTA discovered this when it instituted free transfers between the subway and its buses.