Foiled Again By BART Management

This is part rant, part genuine request for advice.

By way of background, my one-way commute from del Norte to Embarcadero is $3.80. Because the fare is a random amount, I am usually left at the end of the month with "orphan tickets," which is my name for a ticket with not enough $$ on it to go anywhere, but certainly more than I want to donate to BART (which is anything above a nickel). Normally with my orphan tickets, I will add on the exact amount necessary to get the ticket to $3.80, use it for a one-way ride, and be done with it.

This month, I was left with a $1.00 double-whammy orphan ticket that is also demagnetized. I have been resisting dealing with this situation, because BART's answer to the demagnetized orphan is to ask for the ticket plus four dollars, and give me a $5 ticket. One ride later, I have a $1.20 ticket, solving the demagnetization but not the orphan issue.

As I often do at the beginning of the month, today I went to the Embarcadero station to cash in my commuter checks for high-value BART tickets. I took with me my $115.00 in commuter checks, four dollars, and my $1 impotent orphan ticket, hoping to get two newly minted and working $64 tickets. I know it is hard to imagine a woman going anywhere without an entire satchel, but I didn't bring anything else, including my wallet.

The man at the ticket counter informed me that BART recently changed its policy and that old BART tickets can no longer be combined with commuter checks for high-value tickets. My only option, he said, was to pay him $5.00 along with my commuter checks to get the two high-value tickets, then another $4.00 with the defunct orphan to get -- you guessed it -- a $5.00 ticket which will be an orphan in its own right by this evening. Needless to say, I walked away miffed and without working BART tickets.

Which brings me to my real question to any BART management personnel who may be reading this: ARE YOU TRYING TO DRIVE ME CRAZY?!?!? If the new policy is about being sure that you capture more revenue (under your agent's proposal, I pay $5 plus $4 plus, after this evening, $2.60 for a grand total of $11.60 instead of the $4 I was proposing), you can forget about that, because I will donate my paralyzed orphan to one of those groups that is always asking for low-value BART tickets.

But more importantly, what gives? I spend most of my time on BART miserable, either because I am crammed in like a sardine, the train is filthy, someone is yelling on their cell phone, my train to work is late, or any combination of these. Why do you also seek to make me mad while I am not even on a train?

Seriously, what was the reason for the "change" in policy?

You could always take your commuter check, buy high value tickets.. Send them in for a cash refund, then use the money to have BART send you tickets for the exact amount for the rides.. I'm not sure, but if you spend enough I believe you can get the discount..

Call BART and ask about the discount if you have them make tickets for the amount you need.. Of course they don't like you getting cash for commuter checks, but when you buy tickets at the store, BART can't tell if you used cash or check.

TreoBART's picture

That sounds really complicated. On the other hand, i suppose you could use the cash to put in your bank account which you can then load your EZ Rider card with... I should try that with my employer-purchased high value passes sometime

Go to the agent with your small value tickets every time you take a ride.

If the ticket has a 1.00 value and your ride costs 3.80, bring 2.80 cash with you.

Give up the dollar ticket plus the 2.80, and have the agent write you a ride voucher for 3.80.

You get rid of the ticket, and you give the voucher to the agent at the exit station.

Problem solved.

MalcoveMagnesia's picture

do the Embarcadero / Powell ticket counters still take tiny tickets as credit (along with cash) towards high value tickets, or have they completely done away with tiny "orphan" tickets now?

Evil Pete's picture

Get A EZ Rider card and never be degaussed again

TreoBART's picture

Too bad they stopped registration for it.

boopiejones's picture

the OP gets commuter checks. you can't use commuter checks to reload an EZ rider card, can you?

stoconnell's picture

EZ Rider is backed by a credit card. If you are fortunate enough to be able to obtain a credit card for your pre-tax commuter deduction, you can back your EZ Rider card with this. I am fortunate enough to work at a company that uses WageWorks, which has this option.

Evil Pete's picture

same here. ( Ez Rider & Translink )

stoconnell's picture

I had a gate agent refer to my EZ rider card as being "demagnetized" when it was not reading properly on the turnstile reader (beeping and throwing the dreaded "see gate agent" error) but read just fine in the booth. It just goes to show how pervasive the mindset is :)

Fucking Spamming Bastard!