A Regional Bus and Ferry Fare Restructure Program

SEPTEMBER 22, 2005

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) held a Public Hearing in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Thursday, September 22, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to implement a regional bus and ferry fare restructure program. 

Directors Present (7): Directors Brown, Cochran, Eddie, Martini, Reilly and Stroeh; President Middlebrook


Directors Not Present (11): Directors Ammiano, Dufty, Hernández, Kerns, McGoldrick, Murray, Pahre, Sandoval and Shahum; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan

[Note:   On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: Acting General Manager and District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; District Secretary Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Planning Director Alan R. Zahradnik; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Customer Relations Supervisor Helen Haas; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala


Visitors Present:  David Schonbrunn, TRANSDEF; Nick Perry, Palo Alto resident

1.     Purpose of Public Hearing

The public hearing was conducted by President Middlebrook.  She opened the public hearing by announcing that the purpose of the public hearing was to receive public comment regarding a proposal to simplify the District’s regional transit fare system by implementing a regional bus and ferry fare restructure program consisting of the following changes to the District’s current fare ordinance:

  • Consolidate regional bus fare zones 7 and 9 with zone 2; and consolidate regional bus fare zone 8 with zone 3. Eliminate zones 7, 8, and 9 from the regional bus fare matrix.
  • Remove local Marin County bus fares from the regional zone fare matrix and establish a separate fare table for local Marin bus travel.
  • Remove local East Bay and inter-county East Bay bus fares from the regional fare zone matrix and establish a separate table for East Bay bus travel. Set the inter-county bus fare from the East Bay to all points in the District’s service area at the current zone 10 to zone 3 fare. Eliminate zone 10 from the regional bus fare matrix.
  • Redefine the ferry youth fare category from ages 6 through 12, to ages 6 through 18, to be consistent with the current bus youth fare category definition.
  • Increase the discount for the regional bus and ferry youth fare category to 50% of the adult cash fare from the current 25% to be consistent with discounts provided to seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Eliminate the weekend ferry family fare plan category.
  • Eliminate the ferry children and senior group fare categories.
  • Establish TranslinkP®P as the Golden Gate Transit bus and Golden Gate Ferry regional fare card to eventually replace Bus Ride Value Tickets and Ferry Frequent Rider Tickets, expand the convenience of pre-paid fares to youths, seniors and persons with disabilities, and offer automatic fare collection to all District regional transit customers.

2.     Public Outreach

District Secretary Janet Tarantino reported that in compliance with District policy, the following forms of public outreach were undertaken by the District:

a.  The Notice was mailed to organizations and individuals on the District’s mailing list;  

b.  Copies of the Notice were posted in various locations on District properties;

c.  In compliance with Resolution No. 2005-072, adopted August 12, 2005, legal notices of this Public Hearing were published in the Marin Independent Journal during the period of August 23, 2005 to August 30, 2005;

d.  A press release was issued on September 12, 2005, resulting in articles in several local newspapers in the District’s service area, and was posted to the District’s web site on August 12, 2005;

e.  Display ads were placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Pacific Sun, the Commuter Times, Bay Crossings, the Novato Advance, and La Voz (Spanish-language newspaper) during the period of September 1, 2005 to September 20, 2005;

f.  The notice and staff reports were posted on the District’s web site and on;

g.  E-mail updates were sent to subscribers on August 24, 2005, September 14, 2005, and September 19, 2005;

h.  Posters in English and Spanish were placed on Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries, at bus stops and ferry terminals;

i.  The District’s Bus Passenger Advisory Committee, Ferry Passenger Advisory Committee and Advisory Committee on Accessibility were provided notice of the public hearing on August 29, 2005;

j.  An article was written in the Golden Gate Gazette, which was published on August 29, 2005; and,

k.  Notices were sent to schools in Marin and San Francisco counties, local tour bus companies, previous participants in the Group Ferry Fare program and senior/community centers.

The Attorney for the District confirmed that the above-described public outreach met the legal requirements for calling a public hearing.


3.    Staff Presentation

Acting General Manager Denis Mulligan called upon Planning Director Alan Zahradnik to provide the staff presentation.     

At the meeting, Mr. Zahradnik summarized the public hearing staff report (a copy of which is available in the Office of the District Secretary), stating that the Board of Directors (Board) by Resolution No. 2005-072 at its meeting of August 12, 2005, authorized setting a public hearing to receive public comment on a proposal to simplify the District’s regional transit fare system by implementing a regional bus and ferry fare restructure program.  He stated that the current fare system is inherently complex because the District operates four different types of public transit services and those complexities could be a barrier for transit use.  As a result, staff is proposing a program that includes consolidating zones and establishing uniformity with youth discount fares, which will simplify the fare system and may encourage ridership.  The new fare matrix will achieve a simplification by condensing 300 different fares into 60 different fares.  The process for the fare restructure is part of a three-part program that staff working on concurrently, which includes the fare recovery policy and the five-year fare increase.  Mr. Zahradnik stated that staff will present a recommendation on the fare restructure program to the Finance-Auditing Committee in October 2005.  He noted that the fare restructure is designed to be revenue-neutral and includes some fare decreases.  A copy of the report is available in the District Secretary’s office and on the District’s web site.  

4.     Public Comments Received


President Middlebrook then opened public comment portion of the public hearing.


a.     Written Comments

Ms. Tarantino reported that the District has received fourteen (14) communications prior to the public hearing, including, including twelve e- mails and two letters.  She summarized the comments as follows:

      1. Three comments expressed support;
      2. Three comments expressed opposition; and,
      3. Eight comments expressed general comments, including questions about Translink®.

b.     Oral Comments

    David Schonbrunn expressed general comments regarding the proposal to implement a regional bus and ferry fare restructure program.  He made the following suggestions:  1) include local Sonoma County fare zones within the fare matrix; 2) reduce fares for local San Francisco Golden Gate Transit travel; 3) change the regional cash fare table into an inter-county cash fare table; and, 4) eliminate showing fares for both directions.  He also stated that the public needs better clarification regarding how passengers utilize TranslinkP®P as a replacement for discount tickets and commuter checks.  

    Nick Perry expressed his support for the regional bus and ferry fare restructure program and suggested that for convenience, when passengers are transferring to the ferry system, bus fares should include the cost of the ferry fare.

5.     Closing Remarks

President Middlebrook stated that staff would summarize all public comments received and would present a final recommendation relative to the proposal presented at this public hearing to the Finance-Auditing Committee at its regularly scheduled meeting on October 13, 2005.  She further reported that if action is taken by the Finance-Auditing Committee on October 13, 2005, the item would be presented to the full Board of Directors on Friday, October 14, 2005, for its consideration.  Both of these meetings will be held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA.


6.     Conclusion


All business having been concluded, the public hearing was closed at 9:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino

Secretary of the District