January 27, 2022 9:48 AM
Big Blue Bus (BBB) will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, February 10 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Santa Monica Main Library's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium to present and discuss a new fare structure.
Since 2015, BBB has sought to reduce cash boardings across its system and encourage more customers to use contactless fare media (i.e., a TAP card or mobile ticket) in an effort to:
- Speed up travel time and reduce the time customers spend waiting to board the bus
- Invest the savings realized from reduced travel time into more frequent service
- Provide customers with greater choice and convenience for fare payment options
- Identify efficiencies for farebox maintenance and cash handling
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of BBB customers migrated away from using cash and/or magnetic stripe paper passes to pay their fare, instead, using a TAP card or mobile tickets to pay their fare. To mitigate health risks associated with the pandemic, BBB suspended fare collection on March 20, 2020, and required customers to board and exit through the rear door. When fare collection and front-door boarding resumed in February 2021, BBB piloted several fare changes. First, BBB discontinued paper pass sales. At the same time, BBB introduced a promotional Single Ride fare ($1.00 - Regular; $0.40 - Senior/Disabled/Medicare) for TAP and mobile ticket payments to promote greater adoption of contactless fares. BBB also discontinued acceptance of paper passes in April 2021. In July 2021, BBB transitioned to contactless fare payments only, as part of the pilot to help staff assess the customer and operational impacts of a cashless system. BBB is now proposing a new fare structure that includes the following changes:
- Reduce the price of some existing fare products and introduce two (2) new fare products
- Introduce free BBB to BBB transfers
- Discontinue six (6) underutilized fare products to make fare options easier to understand
- Raise the age at which children ride free
- Limit onboard fare payments to contactless (i.e., TAP card and mobile ticket) as a result of the successful contactless fare payment pilot program that has been in place since July 12, 2021
See details of this proposal at bigbluebus.com/meetings.
“As our community continues to endure the effects of the pandemic, providing options for safe, reliable, fast, and affordable transportation will be critical to our recovery. The ease and simplicity of contactless fare payments allow us to expand access to free and reduced transit fares, continue to safeguard the health of customers and staff, and carry riders more efficiently on our system,” said Ed King, Santa Monica Department of Transportation Director.
Customers who are unable to attend the meeting and would like to submit feedback are encouraged to complete an online survey at bigbluebus.com/meetings. The survey will remain open until February 17, 2022. After the public hearing, adjustments to the proposal may be made based on public feedback prior to submitting to the City Council for consideration and approval.
Getting to the Public Hearing
BBB Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, Rapid 3, Rapid 7, or Rapid 10 serve the Santa Monica Main Library. If you must drive, parking is available in the library garage (enter on 7th St. just north of Santa Monica Blvd.).
Health & Safety Requirements
Please refrain from attending the public hearing if you are demonstrating recognized signs of COVID-19 or other similar illness. Except for children aged 2 and under, attendees must wear a face covering at all times over the nose and mouth, while inside the Library. All attendees will be required to complete a health screening before entering the Auditorium. Once inside the Auditorium, please maintain a 6-foot physical distance from others that are not in your same household.
The venue is ADA-accessible. Disability and translation accommodation requests should be made at least three (3) days prior to the meeting by calling 310.458.1975 ext. 2386. All written materials are available in alternate formats upon request.
About Big Blue Bus
Big Blue Bus operates a fleet of 189 vehicles transporting passengers daily across a 58-square mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, the agency plans to convert its entire fleet from natural gas to zero emissions by 2030. Currently, 10-percent of the fleet is battery electric. The rest of the fleet operates on other alternative fuels, including renewable natural gas (RNG), a form of liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), which helps cut emissions by up to 90 percent. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its marketing, customer service, safety, and efficiency.
Community Engagement Administrator