The good news is that BART will stop charging you $6.40 for leaving the station that you had just entered. The bad news is that this change likely won’t happen until “sometime in the summer of 2024.”
We all know the feeling: You scan your Clipper Card to enter a BART station, only to find that a system delay so severe is in effect that a Muni bus would actually be quicker. Or maybe your train isn’t coming for like another 20 minutes or longer, so you’d prefer to pop out and smoke a bowl, or whathaveyou. But when you enter and exit that same station, BART charges you the very hefty “excursion fare” (currently $6.40) in exchange for no transit whatsoever.
Half a century ago when BART was new, people hopped and stayed onboard for hours of joyriding, not paying any fare when they returned to their original station as if they had never left. That gave birth to a minimum fare, the so-called excursion fare. https://t.co/ev80IknZD5— KTVU (@KTVU) December 7, 2022
As KTVU explains, “Half a century ago when BART was new, people hopped and stayed onboard for hours of joyriding, not paying any fare when they returned to their original station as if they had never left. That gave birth to a minimum fare, the so-called excursion fare.”
Is that just code for them not wanting homeless people hanging out on the system? Because that hasn't been a deterrent. Regardless, that so-called minimum fare will eventually be a thing of the past, as that KTVU piece informs us that BART is eliminating the excursion fare.
Good >> BART just adopted a major policy change to address excursion fare fee - SFGATE https://t.co/mDiZynw2u3— Sasha Lekach (@sashajol) December 8, 2022
As you see below, the BART board approved the elimination of the excursion fare last week. “We'll soon stop penalizing riders who enter a station and don't ride BART, especially when it's due to BART delays,” BART board president Rebecca Saltzman tweeted.
BART Board just approved my proposal to institute 30 min grace period for $6.40 excursion fare! We'll soon stop penalizing riders who enter a station and don't ride BART, especially when it's due to BART delays.— Rebecca Saltzman (@RebeccaForBART) December 1, 2022
Thanks @JaniceForBART & staff for working with me all year on this!
SFGate adds that excursion fare charges “account for just 1% of all BART trips” (but really, are they even “trips?”). That site also reports that “approximately 80% of people who paid the $6.40 excursion fare exited the station within 30 minutes of entering.”
So because of that, there will be a 30-minute grace period where you’ll be able to enter and exit that same station for no charge.
But there’s a catch. Clipper Cards are not yet programmed to do this, and it’s going to be a while until this change takes effect. Metropolitan Transportation Commission assistant director of communications John Goodwin tell KTVU "The expectation is it would be sometime in the summer of 2024."
Related: It Is 2022 and BART Has Just Added Credit Payment Capability to Add Fare Machines [SFist]