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To dissuade ride-hailing, BART riders could start skipping lines at SF airport

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Agency board considers “trip verification technology” for travel perks to combat Uber and Lyft

An empty train platform, with a red digital sign advertising trips to San Francisco and Dublin. Photo by Daniel Chin

At Today’s BART Board of Directors meeting, the transit agency will consider a proposal to work with San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to allow riders to skip some of the boarding lines.

BART staff hope that so-called “trip verification technology” will allow the agency to offer extra perks and benefits to riders to entice them away from cars and other forms of transit, most notably ride-hailing apps that are netting more and more trips to and from SFO.

Under a pilot program to be presented today, SFO would allow users with Clipper cards or BART apps who arrive via BART to enter a “priority line” that will “get to the passenger screening checkpoint for ticketed airline passengers at one or more terminal [sic] saving time at the airport.”

Riders who take SamTrans buses would also have access to the priority line. SFO staff will scan passenger cards and direct them to the reserve area.

“If the pilot of this technology is successful, SFO would consider expanding it to other security checkpoints and/or BART could consider offering the technology to other major partner venues, including the Oakland International Airport,” the report notes.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, rides to and from SFO started to decline in 2015, down nearly 2,500 trips per year, right around the time that Uber and Lyft use exploded in San Francisco and taxi cab use around the airport took a similar nosedive.

Thanks to the nearly five-dollar surcharge, BART rides to SFO are the most expensive in the system.

Between 2014 and today, the cost of a one-way trip from West Oakland to the airport rose more than a dollar for standard non-Clipper fares, from $8.85 to $9.90. In the five year prior to that the price rose $0.55.