Transit Pricing

Planning1 Comment on Transit Pricing

Transit Pricing

“What if BART charged the same price for every trip?” *

“How much money would BART have to charge to have a 100% farebox recovery?” **

These are the sort of random questions my friends asked me in the last week without realizing I spent a whole semester of Transportation Policy class modeling those exact answers.

Because BART so generously provided their ridership data, and because information like this should be free, here are the poster, fact sheets, final paper, and model my group and I developed to answer questions like these and more.


Fact Sheet


Final TRB paper here.


Download the entire 64 MB model here. It’s in an Excel spreadsheet. Make changes to the inputs on the first sheet, and the results pop up on the second sheet. I highly recommend turning off automatic calculations, or this is going to wreck your computer.

*The average BART fare is $3.51. If BART charged $3.51 for every trip, trains making the longer commuter trips would fill up, and fewer people would take BART for shorter distances. This is pretty inequitable. BART may not be perfect, but it’s lucky to have the technology to charge based on distance.

**We didn’t actually model this, but you could with the spreadsheet model. When asked, I said something about “no other mode of transport is expected to pay for all of its externalities, why should BART?”, mumbled about the gas tax, and poured myself another glass of wine.***

***I’m really fun at dinner parties.

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