Regional Measure 3 – Downtown Extension, Dumbarton, and Streamlined Fares with Clipper 2.0

On Wednesday, July 12, the Bay Area Caucus will be meeting to try and hash out an expenditure plan for Regional Measure 3, the proposed measure for a $3 bridge toll increase that would bring in $4B in capital funding and $60Million in capital funding. Read on for what you can do today and tomorrow to help.

Opportunity for fare streamlining with Clipper 2.0 to improve ridership, equity

In addition to capital projects making major Transbay connections, RM3 is expected to put funding into the Clipper 2.0 program. The Clipper 2.0 investment can provide major opportunity to increase regional transit ridership and improve equitable access by streamlining regional fares.  

An emerging international best practice is to to offer a “pay as you go” pass with a monthly cap, based on zone or distance.  This makes transit more user-friendly for everyone, and especially helps travelers who are cash-flow and budget sensitive, who don’t need to pay for a month in advance, and who value being able to predict their monthly cost.  The base price can be further subsidized with additional funding to help very low income travelers, as is done in Seattle with the LIFT program.

Transit agencies have been reluctant to take steps to streamline, fearful that even though fare streamlining would likely increase transit ridership overall, nevertheless any given transit agency might see a dip.  Around the world, this is handled with a small insurance fund to protect against minor dips for individual agencies.

Fare streamlining is a great fit for Regional Measure 3 bridge tolls, intended to improve transbay connections, since all transbay trips cross counties, and transit trips are likely to use multiple transit agencies.

Because of the transit agency’s historical reluctance, RM3 is a great opportunity for the legislature to take the lead to move forward toward global best practices, by studying fare streamlining, funding the implementation, and helping insure against minor dips.

Regional transit connections – Downtown Extension, Diridon, Dumbarton

The projects for potential consideration include a number of major transit connections that would be valuable for the Caltrain corridor and its integration into regional transit network.

These include:

  1. Downtown Extension to Transbay Terminal.  Extending the Caltrain tracks to Transbay would connect Caltrain to a site with 3x as many jobs nearby as the rest of the line combined, with rich transit connections.  This connection would greatly increase the value of Caltrain and the ridership of the line.
  2. Design for Second Transbay Tube. A second tube could have BART, conventional rail (Caltrain/HSR) or both. Through-running Caltrain across the bay would greatly increase the capacity of the system.
  3. San Jose Diridon Station improvements, adapting to serve many more passengers with Caltrain, BART, HSR, VTA, ACE, Capital Corridor
  4. BART to San Jose, connecting to Caltrain at Diridon
  5. Dumbarton corridor transit improvements (Bus and Rail).  SamTrans is currently studying major transit improvements, which would be critically important for the expansion of Facebook, and housing near Facebook at the base of the Dumbarton bridge. This could provide valuable regional connections to BART as well as ACE and Capitol Corridor.

Unfortunately, the Dumbarton corridor investments, was submitted by San Mateo County, was not in the list that was reviewed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on June 28.  

If you are interested in some or all of these regional connections – especially Dumbarton which was left off the MTC list – please call your Bay Area Caucus member:

Jim Beall – (916) 651-4015
Kevin Mullin – (916) 319-2022
Rob Bonta – (916) 319-2018
David Chiu  (916) 319-2017
Phil Ting – (916) 319-2019
Nancy Skinner – (916) 651-4009

Dumbarton rail bridge