San Francisco International Airport representatives today asked for a BART-to-SFO surcharge that recently increased by $2.50 to be entirely waived for airport employees, an idea a BART spokesman shot down as “insane.”

BART directors voted to raise fares in May, including by increasing the surcharge for trips to the airport from $1.50 to $4. The increase took effect July 1.

At a morning news conference, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said the change is unfair to airport workers because they’re paying a surcharge of $8 a day to get to work and back, which is $5 more than they had been paying.

However, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said that with a combination of three types of discounts available to airport employees, they can pay less than if BART were to waive the $4 charge.

“The airport is being 100 percent disingenuous,” he said. “It’s stunning to me they’re taking this position.”

Johnson said BART offered to extend a 25 percent discount to all airport workers, a discount that previously applied only to airline employees. The offer remains on the table, he said.

He also said all employees who work in the county of San Francisco have the option of paying for BART tickets with pre-tax dollars taken from their paychecks before they are taxed, an option that can save them an average of 25 percent.

Additionally, he said, employees can save by using high-value tickets, an easy-rider system similar to FasTrak that allows riders to buy tickets worth $48 for only $42.

“The bottom line is, you can get up to a 56.2 percent discount,” Johnson said.

McCarron said in regard to the 56.2 percent, “That I’m not aware of, but the airport would still like to see the surcharge waived for all its employees.”

The airport has been providing a free shuttle for its workers from the Millbrae station to the airport that runs about every 20 minutes. McCarron said about 700 of its 1,100 employees who ride BART to work have been using the shuttle.

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  • Greg Dewar

    Once again, government agencies show a fundamental inability to work together or even talk to each other, instead each side retreats to the bunker and fires off verbal grenades.

    First, why SFO isn’t participating in the federal government’s pretax discount plan for commuter costs (of ANY SORT) is plain stupid. That’s a no-brainer that makes everyone happy.

    Second, BART needs to dial down the rhetoric a little (these labor negotiations are making them a bit trigger happy.) It’s not helping.

    Third, one has to ask if BART’s revenue is so precarious that the small number of employees mentioned here would destroy revenues (remember millions of people ride the system every year) does that mean that the system is literally headed to doom and gloom without a few hundred employees not paying the $4 surcharge (answer: no).

    SFO and BART need to take a chill pill and start over. No one wins with this choose up siderism and grenade throwing. And both sides need to learn to COMPROMISE. It’s a crummy world out there, deal with it, SFO and BART!

  • Akit

    SFO should take the offer of the 25% discount for airport employees, using the commuter check pre-tax benefit, and high value tickets, then…

    screw BART over by still providing the airport shuttle service from Millbrae BART (claim the excuse is because Caltrain passengers would have to hassle to take the train to San Bruno to transfer) to the airport. The employees still score over the discounts, but still doesn’t have to hassle with paying the $4 one-way surcharge.