Notes from AC Transit’s fare policy public input meeting

After work yesterday, I attended AC Transit’s fare policy public input meeting. For those who couldn’t go, here’s how it went.

They gave a short presentation explaining the fare policy proposal, and the timeline for when things will happen. There will be a public hearing on the fare policy in April, then they will look for adoption by the Board, and would expect the fare increase to go into effect in January.

The meeting was fairly well attended. The seats in the room were probably about half full. I went straight there from work, but I still got there late, so I didn’t actually get to see the presentation except the very end.

However, AC Transit staff has helpfully provided me with the slides for the presentation, so if you want to review them for yourself, you can do so here (PDF). They provide a very good, simple explanation of the background and different elements of this proposal.

AC Transit Fare Policy public input meeting

After the presentation, everyone dispersed to look at the question boards they had prepared. There were five “stations,” each covering a different aspect of the fare policy proposal. There was one about the general guidelines of the fare policy, one about transfers, one about the rate structure, one about how they should go about raising the cash fare, and one about the prices for youth and disabled passes.

Each station had a board with questions, and a few staff members standing next to it. When you approached the station, the staff members would give you dot stickers, and asked you to put a dot in the box that reflected your answer to each question. If you had any questions about any aspects of that issue, they would answer them. And if you had additional comments on the subject beyond what was reflected in the boards, the staff members would take them down from you.

Fare Policy Goals station

I really enjoyed the format. For one, sticking your dots on the board was fun. I support anything that makes meetings more fun! Also, and I believe I have mentioned this in the past, I really like these meeting formats where they break the issue down into sections and have people walk around between them. I believe it is a much more effective way to collect input than the traditional presentation followed by a long line of people rambling about God knows what, or the also popular presentation followed by sitting around a table with crazy people for 45 minutes and all crafting some inane statement together. I also think it is more accessible to people who may not be comfortable speaking in front of groups.

So I was glad to see AC Transit do it this way.

In addition to the input stations, they had posters tacked up around the room with information about the agency.

I was particularly interested in the ones showing the breakdown of the AC Transit’s ridership.

Who is riding AC Transit

Age of AC Transit ridership

Another display I found fascinating showed the history of AC Transit’s fare rates. The photo I took was hard to read, so I have prepared some charts illustrating the fare history.

Local cash fares

History of AC Transit local cash fares

Monthly pass prices

History of AC Transit monthly pass prices

Transbay cash fares

History of AC Transit's Transbay Fares

All in all, I thought it was a really good meeting and I’m happy I attended. If you were unable to attend the meeting, but still want to weigh in, comments will be accepted through February 28th. Visit the fare input page on AC Transit’s website for information about how you can comment. And for additional background and discussion of the proposals, see the post I wrote yesterday about AC Transit’s fare policy.