Students approve Gator Pass for Fall 2017


USF student Aya Bensing shows her Muni transit pass from USF at a USF campus bus stop on Mon. May 2, 2016. (Gabriela Rodriguez / Xpress)

SF state students voted nearly 3-to-1 in favor of the Gator Pass after the student elections April 11-15. Students will have unlimited access to the Muni buses and light rails of San Francisco as well as receive at least a 25 percent discount on BART rides to and from the Daly City station.

It was a combined effort of Associated Students Inc. and BART’s Director of District 8, Nick Josefowitz.

Now that students approved the measure, the Student Fee Advisory Committee will conduct a report to send to President Leslie E. Wong. After Wong’s approval, it will then get sent to Chancellor Timothy White.

“Anytime a student choses to get out of their cars and use alternative transportation to campus, the university supports,” said Jonathan Morales, director of news and new media at SF State.

The Gator Pass is slated to begin Fall 2017. The mandatory $180 increase will be included in student fees, and will increase up to $5 per semester, depending on BART prices. SF State will release new student OneCards that will double as a Clipper Card.

“It’s expensive enough to live in this region, and we should be doing all we can as a community to give people a break on the cost of getting to school,” Josefowitz said.

Students who choose not to use their Gator Pass will still have to pay the fee.

“I voted, and I agree with the measure, because even if you don’t commute it will help the other students who do commute,” said civil engineering major Diana Vargas.

About 90 percent of the 30,000 students at SF State commute to campus, according to the SF State’s Transportation Survey. 49 percent of those students live in San Francisco county.

“I think it’s going to help a lot and save commuters money too,” said Jennifer Estrada, first year business and marketing major, who travels from Daly City to campus. “Since San Francisco is expensive, I don’t think students will mind the increase.”

Other students commute to campus from the East Bay and the North Bay.

“There’s a whole bunch of (services) that I have to pay for that I don’t use here, but if I did see it finalized it would be nice,” said Jeremy Davila, a French major who commutes from Walnut Creek.

Since the beginning of this year, BART prices have increased by 3.4 percent. Last July, Muni prices rose 25 cents.

Marshall Visser, a political science major, commutes from Antioch, and frequently has problems with BART.

“BART technology is way too inefficient for the area, that is No. 1 in tech,” Visser said. “It’s overcrowded and smells like pee. Even more students will be riding BART and Muni, how will that be sustainable? They should use our money carefully to add more trains or improve the existing ones.”

A portion of students remain uneasy about the details referendum, whether they already battle with underlying issues or don’t use San Francisco’s public transit.

“I live in Excelsior; it takes be about 15 minutes to get to school,” said Chris DelaRosa, a first year business marketing major. DelaRosa said he drives, but if the Gator Pass were included in tuition he would probably switch over, but would add significant time to his commute.

“A lot of people commute (on public transit),” DelaRosa said. “Not a lot of people drive, so I agree it could totally be a good thing.”

SF State will be following other local universities, such as the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley, which have local bus passes, but SF State will be the first to receive BART at a discounted price, according to the ASI website.

USF student Aya Bensing shows her Muni transit pass from USF at a USF campus bus stop on Mon. May 2, 2016. (Gabriela Rodriguez / Xpress)
USF student Aya Bensing shows her Muni transit pass from USF at a USF campus bus stop on Mon. May 2, 2016. (Gabriela Rodriguez / Xpress)