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Transit Pass

Referendum

Vote on *Transit Pass during
AS general elections

April 11-15, 2016

*Includes universal MUNI fares and at least 25% off BART rides to and from Daly City

ResolutionVoter Pamphlet
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A.S. Elections:

Vote Your Way

Official Results

Student Referendum

Do you support the implementation of a mandatory student fee of $180 per semester for the fall and spring terms, commencing in the Fall of 2017, which would provide all students with a transit pass (“Gator Pass”), which will include a Muni pass (unlimited Muni rides on light rail and bus) and a BART discount of at least 25% on all rides traveling to and from Daly City Station?

 

It is anticipated that the fee will increase by $5 annually (i.e., Fall 2018: $185; Fall 2019: $190) to account for Muni and BART fare increases, which will be subject to review by a team of SF State students and administrators who will regularly evaluate the program’s efficacy and determine appropriate cost escalation, if any, and whether the discount for BART may be modified. The BART discount would remain at least 25% for students every year. Any university review resulting in a proposed modification to the program will result in a recommendation to the Student Fee Advisory Committee for approval through an alternative consultation process. Should the program enter into a deficit in any given semester, the university may elect to discontinue the program; in any such instance, no fee will be collected.

What Your Vote Means:

A “yes” vote means that you support the implementation of a mandatory student fee of $180 per semester for the fall and spring terms, commencing in the Fall of 2017, which would provide all students with a transit pass “Gator Pass”, which will include a Muni pass (unlimited Muni rides on light rail and bus) and a BART discount of at least 25% on all rides to and from Daly City Station. It is anticipated that the fee will increase by $5 annually to account for Muni and BART fare increases, which will be subject to review by a team of SF State students and administrators who will regularly evaluate the program’s efficacy and determine appropriate cost escalation, if any, and whether the discount for BART may be modified. The BART discount would remain at least 25% for students every year.

 

A “no” vote means that you do not support the implementation of a mandatory student fee which would provide for the transit pass “Gator Pass”.

FAQ

What is the Transit Pass?

A transit pass “Gator Pass” will provide all SF State students unlimited rides on SF Muni trains and buses (similar to the ‘M’ Monthly Muni Pass, but excluding cable cars) and at least a 25% discount on all BART rides to and from Daly City Station by using their SF State student ID (One Card). The transit pass will make public transportation more affordable for many students, as well as promote values that are integral to SF State’s core such as sustainability, equity and community.

How will we have access to the transit discount?

Students’ ID cards would be upgraded to serve as both SF State ID cards, as well as Clipper cards. Clipper is the all-in-one transit card for the Bay Area. A Clipper card can hold transit passes, cash value, or any combination. The Gator Pass would be available on the SF State ID/ Clipper card, and students could choose to utilize their card for all of their transit needs, as described above. For more on Clipper, visit www.clippercard.com.

Do other universities have transit discount passes?

Many universities (USF, UC Berkeley, various CSU’s) have a public transit discount for students similar to the proposed Gator Pass. However, SF State would be the first university to offer unlimited access to San Francisco through Muni in addition to a BART discount for students traveling to and from the Daly City Station.

How will the Gator Pass benefit the SF State community?

Encouraging public transit use is good for the environment and is cost-effective for students, especially for those with limited incomes. 15% of SFSU’s carbon gas emissions currently come from students driving alone to and from campus. The Gator Pass will reduce the campuses carbon footprint, relieve parking congestion and promote equity for those students most in need.

Why is the transit pass being offered now?

The idea of a universal discounted transit pass has been discussed for years among various students. The cost of living has reached an all time high in the Bay Area, reinvigorating the conversation about affordability campus wide. Students are living farther away from campus to save on housing costs. Much of those savings are lost on transit and commuting costs.

 

Associated Students passed a resolution in Spring 2015, endorsing the idea of a discounted transit pass to help students with the rising cost of attendance. Additionally, the SF State strategic plan, which was developed through broad consultation throughout the campus community, identified the implementation of a transit pass as an important goal.

Has the student body been consulted in the development of the proposed Gator Pass?

The idea of a transit discount pass was brought forth by the general student body within the last five years, and has remained a student led project. Polls conducted by both the University and Associated Students support this idea. In the 2014 Transportation Survey, 89% of online survey respondents (2,838 student respondents) said they would support a student fee for a transit fare reduction. This is up from 70% of support in 2011.

 

In a recent survey conducted in February 2016, 94% of student survey respondents (1077 student respondents) said they would support a $180 transportation student fee to receive a discounted MUNI and BART pass.

How much will students be saving?

Nearly half of the SF State student population commutes to campus using Muni within San Francisco. Those purchasing a monthly pass currently pay $70 a month. A Gator Pass would reduce total costs to these students by approximately $25 a month, when accounting for the cost of the Gator Pass. They would also benefit from the discount on BART rides to and from Daly City Station.

 

One in four students take BART. Students traveling on BART to and from Daly City Station would save 25% on each trip. Each student would also have the benefit of using Muni for no additional cost.

 

Students who come to SF State by means other than Muni or BART would still pay the fee, thus may see an increase in their costs.

 

Students’ individual savings will differ depending on what they currently pay, how often they come to SF State, and whether they will use their pass for travel in addition to coming to and from campus. Students are encouraged to calculate their own current transit costs to determine the value of the program for them. The calculating tool will be provided shortly.

Will my student fees go up?

Yes. The proposed fee for the Gator Pass will be $180 per semester and it is anticipated that the “Gator Pass” will increase by $5 annually to match the Muni and BART fare increases. A team of SF State students and administrators will regularly evaluate the program’s efficacy and determine appropriate cost escalation, if any, and whether the discount for BART may be modified. The discount would remain at least 25% for students every year.

Will the fee be reviewed on a regular basis?

Yes, the fee will be reviewed on a regular basis by a team of students and administrators. Any university review resulting in a proposed modification to the program will result in a recommendation to the Student Fee Advisory Committee, a majority student committee, for approval through an alternative consultation process. Should the program enter into a deficit in any given semester, the university may elect to discontinue the program; in any such instance, no fee will be collected.

What happens if the fee collects more money than is needed to operate the program?

Student fees such as this one are held in trust and can only be used for the specific program for which they are collected. To ensure the program’s long-term sustainability, initial reserves will be used to establish a stabilization fund to address any anomalies in funding or expenses. Once a sufficient stabilization fund is in place, the regular assessment of the project will take into account how to address any additional reserves. This could include increasing the BART discount, insuring the program, or making other modifications to increase the value of the discount for students.

Why should I have to pay this fee if I do not plan to use the Gator Pass?

Every student will pay the fee, irrespective of whether they use the Gator Pass. The only exceptions are for those students who have fee waivers. While not every student will use the Gator Pass, it is to the university community’s collective benefit to avail all members of the student body with the opportunity to do so.Student fees are considered a cost of attendance; they are not user fees. Their assessment is not dependent on any one student’s use of fee-subsidized services and programs, but rather they are assessed based on an understanding that the related services enrich the student experience, help the university meet key goals, and generally create an environment conducive to the university’s pursuit of its mission.

Is the proposed transit pass only for travel to and from SF State?

No. You can use the pass for all travel on Muni buses and light rail. Travel on cable cars would be excluded. You can also use the pass for all travel on BART, as long as you begin or end your BART ride at Daly City Station.

Will my financial aid cover the Gator Pass fee?

Depending on the type of aid you receive, this answer will vary. Since the Gator Pass would be implemented through a mandatory local fee, local fees are not paid for by State University Grants (SUG) or Cal Grants. However, because the Gator Pass fee would increase the overall cost of attendance, students would be afforded greater eligibility for work study and loans.

 

Loans and Pell Grant awards may be used to cover local fees like the proposed Gator Pass, as well as other costs of attendance, such as course materials and living expenses. Students who receive Pell Grants will not see an increase in their Pell award if the Gator Pass is implemented. While the amount of a student’s award will not increase, it is anticipated that many students will save money with the Gator Pass by lowering the cost of their transportation-related expenses, thereby freeing up funds for other living expenses.

 

Scholarships may cover local fees but that is dependent on how the scholarship is set up by the donor or founder of the award. Students receiving scholarships should review the criteria for the award to see if local fees are covered.

When would the Gator Pass go into effect and when would it be valid for use?

The Gator Pass would launch for the fall 2017 term. Each student would have the Gator Pass for fall and spring semester as long as they were enrolled in classes. The Gator Pass would be active for the entire semester. At this time there are no plans to collect a fee and offer the Gator Pass over the January intersession or the summer sessions.

Would the Gator Pass be for full time and part time students? Graduate and undergraduate students?

Yes. All SF State students– full-time and part time, graduate and undergraduate– would pay the fee and have the value of the program.

Why should I have to pay this fee if I do not plan to use the Gator Pass?

Student fees are considered a cost of attendance; they are not user fees. Their assessment is not dependent on any one student’s use of fee-subsidized services and programs, but rather they are assessed based on an understanding that the related services enrich the student experience, help the university meet key goals, and generally create an environment conducive to the university’s pursuit of its mission. Thus, while not every student will use the Gator Pass, it is to the university community’s collective benefit to avail all members of the student body with the opportunity to do so.

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Pro vs. Con

Pro-Statement

Pro-Statement Rebuttal

I live near campus so commuting isn’t an issue for me. I do take the bus into the city occasionally, but when I go out with my friends we usually split an Uber or a Lyft. I see the benefit of having transit pass, but realistically it will not benefit me and I think it isn’t fair to raise my fees for a service I do not want and seldom use.

Fees are high enough as it is and I know there are other proposed fees that will make them even higher. If the intent is to help students and make college more affordable it doesn’t help me.

Con-Statement

Con-Statement Rebuttal

The transit pass will do more for students then just provide affordable and convenient public transportation. The transit pass is a step towards a more sustainable future for SF State and will set an example for all institutions of higher education. Even though not everyone will use the transit pass, everyone will benefit from it. If we can shift commuting patterns to SF State it will help those that commute by car because it will ease traffic, provide more parking opportunity, and raise the quality of life for all students.

 

The Transit Pass will also increase the esteem of the university which will increase the value of San Francisco State University Diploma. Other universities have local partnerships with Public transportation, but this transit pass is the first of its kind because BART has never made an agreement with any other institution. Even though someone is a Psychology student, part of their fees still go to funding multiple other courses and having the opportunity to learn other necessary disciplines and having other successful programs benefit both.

 

This will also help some of the students who are most in need of support. Those who have to commute to campus in an effort to save money or those who can not afford to come to campus on a regular basis are at a disadvantage or maybe denied access. If you live further away this will benefit you because they spend the most on their daily commute. It will benefit students who live in the area, because they can use any time to get around the city. It will benefit everyone, because it will make SF State a better place.

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Fare Calculator

Working with transportation experts, we’ve developed the SF State Gator Pass Fare Calculator tool to help you estimate your monthly transit costs and savings, should the Gator Pass be implemented. Open the Excel spreadsheet at the link below, answer a couple questions about your transit usage, and the tool will automatically calculate your estimated monthly transit costs and savings with the Gator pass.

 

Remember that access to Muni light rail and buses will be unlimited—it need not be only for traveling to and from SF State. So, if you ride BART to get to and from SF State, but take Muni occasionally, like on weekends, don’t forget to account for that in the calculator. And your BART discount will be in effect for any rides to and from Daly City Station.

 

Currently drive and thinking about switching to transit? This fare calculator also helps you compare current driving costs and potential savings by switching to transit with the Gator Pass!

 

For any questions, please email gatorpass@asi.sfsu.edu. If the numbers do not automatically update, try changing your Excel options.

Download Calculator