Re: Too many "Transit Authorities"?
Author: it's sort of happening
Date: 05-14-2019 - 08:14
For political and legal reasons, it's unlikely that we'll ever get rid of the gaggle of transit agencies we have in CA. There may be some consolidation, but the legal setup supports the politics (surprise!) of local control. That said, there's some glimmer of hope in the form of regional fare cards and apps.
Major metros have bought into the fare card (and sometimes app) idea. It's not wonderful for occasional users (have to get the card, set up the account which is almost always online-only, reload it which is most easily done if you have a bank account which not everybody does, some places charge a fee for the card or for non-usage or simply expire it an take any leftover value after a while), and local transit agencies have to agree to join (not everybody in the Bay Area has joined Clipper, for instance), but it does make riding across multiple transit agencies more convenient.
The problem with is is No Standards. The system in any given area works only in that area, so if you have a long commute (say, Sacramento to the Bay Area or San Bernardino to LA) or other travel (say, Bay Area to LA), you have to get multiple cards. A specific failing for CA is that the cards also don't work on most commuter trains or the state Amtrak trains.
So there's considerable room for improvement, but the fare card thing can bring a measure of sanity to the situation.