Council Co-Sponsoring Seamless Transit Transformation Act

Getting commuters back on transit is hard enough with lingering concerns about COVID, but our region’s disjointed and largely uncoordinated approach to public transit makes it even harder. That would change under legislation Sen. Josh Becker (Peninsula) introduced this week (Feb. 3) that the Bay Area Council is proudly co-sponsoring with Seamless Bay Area and Transform.

Senate Bill 917 would require the Bay Area’s 27 independent transit agencies to work together more closely to develop an integrated transit fare structure, create a Connected Network Plan to support schedule coordination and service standards, and develop a single regional transit map and standardized wayfinding system. The legislation prioritizes the commonsense needs of commuters who often must use multiple transit services with different and sometime confusing fares, schedules and other services.

“We must act quickly to entice riders back to public transit—and put the rider experience front and center,” said Senator Becker. “While our transit agencies have made great strides in the past few years with their renewed commitment to integration, there is much more work to be done.”

A major part of the remaining work involves the proposed creation of a regional transit network manager, a centralized authority that would oversee coordination among the Bay Area’s 27 transit agencies. Council CEO Jim Wunderman is serving as the lead representative for the Bay Area business community on a Metropolitan Transportation Commission advisory group that is currently working to define the role of a network manager. Many of the provisions of SB 917 would fall within the purview of a network manager. Such network managers have been in place in other regions around the world, but no such centralized coordinating role currently exists here.

“As we move past COVID, it’s critical we get commuters back on public transit. Making transit as easy, affordable and convenient for everyone to use is paramount in that effort and better integrating fares is one of the most cost-effective, common-sense tools for making that happen,” Wunderman said. 

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