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USA: Californian Assemblyman David Chiu has put forward a bill which would require all 27 transit agencies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area’s nine counties to create a ‘seamlessly integrated public transport system’.

The Bay Area Seamless Transit Act filed on February 4 proposes that agencies standardise their bus fares and use the same regional transit map, smartphone apps, and Clipper card payment technology.

Currently, local agencies have separate end-user systems with very little overlap.

The legislation would ‘implement immediate, achievable steps to move toward a more seamless rider experience’ to require agencies to classify ‘youth’, ‘senior’, and ‘low-income riders’ in the same way and apply the same discounts for passengers transferring from one line to another.

The Democrat bill is an effort to increase ridership levels in the San Francisco Bay Area, where ridership dropped 5·2% between 2016 and 2018. Currently, only 3% of all trips in the Bay Area are made on public transport.

‘Agencies build transportation infrastructure separately, which can make transferring from one operator to the next difficult,’ Chiu said. ‘Navigating our disjointed transit system can be an intimidating and frustrating experience for riders, which leads to less transit ridership overall. We need to put riders first and take steps to make our transportation system reliable, convenient, and intuitive.’

The proposal coincides with the Faster Bay Area Transportation Tax ballot measure currently proposing investments of $100bn in transport projects over the next 40 years.