Gator Pass vote offers students discounted transportation with slight tuition raise


Students arrive and depart SF State at the MUNI stop on 19th Avenue Thursday. Voting is open for students to decide whether to pay an additional $180 per semester for free MUNI and discounted BART fares. (Aleah Fajardo/ Xpress)

Monday through Friday, SF State students will have the opportunity to vote on a $180, per-semester addition to their tuition in exchange for a Gator Pass.

The pass would provide SF State students with the ability to ride MUNI lines for free and BART at a 25 percent discount, according to the Associated Students, Inc. website.

Second-year nursing student Netta Chhim, who was riding the SF State shuttle to Daly City station, where she would use BART to return home, has been looking forward to the vote next week.

“I’ll definitely be voting on it,” Chhim said. She and Nicholas Lasseson, a second-year BECA major with whom she was riding the shuttle, will both be voting in favor of the Gator Pass.

The Gator Pass is the result of the combined effort of Associated Students VP of External Affairs and 4th-year political science major Naeemah Charles, District 8 BART Director Nick Josefowitz, and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner.

If students vote in favor of the Gator Pass, it will go into effect in Fall 2017, according to the ASI website.

The majority of SF State students – almost 90 percent of them – live off campus, according to SF State’s 2014 Transportation Survey.

“Around one in two students take MUNI, and one in four students take BART,” Charles said.

According to the same survey, around 50 percent of students live in San Francisco. 25 percent travel from the East Bay, and the rest of the commuters come from other places in the Bay Area.

Faculty and students get on the bus at the MUNI stop on Holloway Avenue Thursday, April 7. (Aleah Fajardo/ Xpress)
Faculty and students get on the bus at the MUNI stop on Holloway Avenue Thursday, April 7. (Aleah Fajardo/ Xpress)

The most-used transportation for SF State students, according to the survey, is MUNI buses. The SF State shuttle, which takes students from Daly City BART to campus, is used by about one-fifth of students.

The BART pass is not limited to the 25 percent discount, according to Charles.

“You get at least a 25 percent discount on BART,” Charles said. “And so that changes depending on the year. So for example, if one year not as many people rode BART as we expected, that means we have a pool of money that’s just sitting there, so maybe the next year it’ll be at 27 or 30 percent.”

The issue of transportation has become a concern as the prices of MUNI and BART rise. In July 2015, MUNI prices rose by 25 cents, and, according to BART, they increased their fares by 3.4 percent this year.

According to the ASI website, it is anticipated that the $180 tuition addition will increase based on the rise MUNI and BART fares. They expect it to increase by approximately $5 each year.

“Transportation is a major expense for SF State students,” Josefowitz said. “With this initiative, the students are solving a lot of problems – providing more affordable travel for those who commute to school by public transit, reducing local congestion and parking problems, and giving BART a new tool to work with colleges and universities around the Bay.”

The vote will be online for students who want to decide whether or not this pass will be made available.

To vote online, log in to the ASI website with your SF State email.