Remember the day pass? One fare, and you could ride the bus and/or light rail all day? Metro is thinking about bringing it back.
After a five-year hiatus, the daypass may soon return as an option for Metro bus and train riders.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is studying what it would take to reinstitute single-day passes, either on popular Q cards or as stand-alone tickets for all of its buses and trains.
Any change in fares or creation of a daypass would need more study, Metro officials said, as well as approval of the agency’s board. Members of a board committee said Wednesday they’d like to bring the passes back.
Metro discontinued use of daypasses in 2008 to simplify fares. Many riders lamented the loss.
The plans discussed Wednesday assumed a daypass would cost twice as much as a single-ride fare.
For riders, daypasses could save costs and encourage more transit use, officials said. Someone who rides park and ride already pays twice the base fare, $2 to $4.50, depending on where the ride originates. So using a bus or the light rail line at lunchtime or to go to a meeting would be essentially free, said Metro board member Christof Spieler.
The passes would be available via the automated ticket machines at rail stops and other places that sell bus tickets. The Q card used by 70 percent of bus riders also could potentially be charged as a daypass.
Additional opportunities to sell passes also were discussed, including on buses and at hotels, where tourists could be encouraged to hop on board.
It’s unfortunate that the Intermodality archives appear to have been removed, because I know Christof Spieler was a critic of Metro’s decision to discontinue the day pass. I’d have liked to review his reasoning from back then, but alas. One of Metro’s stated goals these days, articulated as a reason for pushing the referendum on last year’s ballot, is to increase ridership. I believe this will facilitate that, and the upfront cost for redoing the fare system is relatively small ($1.7 million) and would hopefully be at least partially recouped by higher ridership. Ad revenues would more than pay for this, too. I’m not seeing any strong reason not to do this, so I hope Metro will move forward with it.