Public transit agencies share many characteristics as humans do: all companies have great qualities that they can be proud of, but, they also face issues as well. Hopefully, the issues transit agencies face can become a door of opportunity to improve their overall service.Golden Gate Transit (GGT) operates daily from 4:00am to 2:30am the next day, depending on the area, and it operates mainly along US Highway 101 between San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, as well as operating on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to Richmond and El Cerrito. It also operates express commute buses during the weekdays and local services daily that complement with the basic services. Despite the fact that the agency operates long hours on many of its routes and cover a lot of areas, as well as many notable bus features, GGT suffers from some setbacks that limit its overall impact to the rest of the Bay Area, including:
- Longer headways. Despite the fact that its basic services operate half-hourly and commute services more frequently, the operating headway overall is longer than other large bus companies. While Muni offers services every 5 to 30 minutes on all its routes all day, GGT offers services every 30 to 60 minutes, especially on the local routes, making passengers play the "hit-or-miss" game. Longer wait times forces passengers to either wait for the next bus or walk towards a freeway bus pad to ride a bus, making it inconvenient.
- Shorter operating times. Basically, local services do not start until about 6am, and then most routes basically end before 9pm. One route, however, operates between 5am and 1am, making it a big inconsistency for local routes that serve more areas than others. Plus, many routes end their trips even before malls close, making it inconvenient for workers who use public transit to go home at night.
- Lack of All-Nighter service. The Bay Area operates a network of bus routes called the "All-Nighter", which allows passengers to travel home or work in the middle of the night when other agencies (like BART and Caltrain) are shut down. However, GGT does not operate such service, making the North Bay the only area in the region not to have any All-Nighter service, forcing passengers who want to travel to and from San Francisco to stay over for the night until the first buses leave at 4am in the north and 5:15am in San Francisco.
- Limited coverage area. Despite the fact that GGT travels to four counties, the company does not operate to certain parts of many communities for many reasons, the most common being the physical landscape of the area and low passenger loads. GGT has a lower ridership rate than the other big transit agencies (like AC Transit, Muni, at VTA) caused by such limited coverage, and it results to residents living in such areas currently not served by transit to drive to get to anywhere they want to go to (particularly true in Marin County).
- Funding struggles. Many transit agencies are struggling with increasing costs of fuel and overall maintenance as a result of an increase of demands for durable goods. However, GGT has tried to mitigate the situation by reducing only one or two trips (instead of whole lines) and increasing fares by 5% yearly to keep up with the situation.
- Schedule unpredictability. While many agencies use GPS to track buses where they are, GGT currently does not have any such system in use, leading to passengers calling 511 to check for schedules or reading the schedule guide to "guess-timate" a bus arrival.
Simply, my suggestions would be:
- Study the feasibility of an overnight service for Fridays and Saturdays
- Expand coverage area to serve even more passengers
- Extend operating times for routes that serve large malls to cope with both shoppers and workers leaving later than closing time
- Study the feasibility of increasing headways for most routes to allow more people to use transit.
Golden Gate Transit primarily operates inter-county bus services connecting four counties, but, their success comes not from how many communities it serves. It is their drivers and how they treat their passengers that make the difference.
We've all heard of the budget crisis in the federal, state, and local levels. We've seen funding cuts for education, public transportation, health, and many other sectors, all of which affect us in our day-to-day living. But, amidst reduced funding for public transportation, what really matters now is not just how much a transit agency receives from the government and other sources; it is how they use the money to retain drivers and keep key operations running.
Golden Gate Transit prides itself with its courteous, helpful drivers who give a helping hand to both new and long-term commuters, as well as well-maintained and comfortable buses, and its overall commitment to help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by operating a fleet of environmentally-friendly buses--several of them hybrids--that allow commuters an alternative to driving. It also prides itself with the ability to carry more bicycles than many other bus companies in the Bay Area: while other companies allow 2 bikes on board (using the front-mounted racks), Golden Gate Transit allows up to 3 in most of its regular transit buses (commuter MCI coaches, however, only allow 2 in the under-storage compartment), allowing more bikers to take their bikes to transit.
Aside from ordering several hybrid buses that run on a combination of ultra-low sulfur diesel and electricity powered by batteries (see sample picture below), Golden Gate Transit has also released several themed buses, many of which present environmental themes like the Whale Bus on the Orion V bus (no. 1501), hand-painted by a Bay Area-renowned painter, Mark Sumner, with a message "To live on the land, we must learn from the sea". For more of the specialty-themed buses aside from the image on the left, see here
And, with the agency's continued commitment to providing high-quality service to its patrons, Golden Gate Transit uses high-back seats on all of its Orion, TMC, and MCI coaches (totaling to 174 coaches out of 201 buses), with all of them having baggage racks, reading lights, and on eight of its MCI coaches, free WiFi internet. All of the buses are air-conditioned (even the hybrid buses), and it provides a constant headway for most of its basic and commuter routes (as consistent as every 5-10 minutes during the peak periods). However, many of the local services (operated by Marin Transit) come by less frequently throughout the day, resulting to a "hit-or-miss" situation for many riders. The busiest local trips see 30-minute headways throughout the day or during peak periods, while other routes come by hourly, making the service unequal for some riders. However, the agency considers both passenger loads and the time of day to determine the amount of service needed for each route.
The best thing Golden Gate Transit has, in my opinion, is how the drivers treat their passengers. Compared to larger agencies like Muni or AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit strives to provide excellent service by greeting passengers and helping them find their way. Along with that, many drivers seem to be the most professional I've ever dealt with because not only they announce the stops using their own voice (unlike automated in other agencies), but also they are willing to listen to any passenger concerns and allow them to share stories to keep them going with their day. I personally have several friends in the agency, and it seems like I would like to stick around with them more often than drivers from other agencies. For me, Golden Gate Transit is an outstanding bus company that puts professionalism in practice, along with its strong commitment to help the environment in more ways than one. And my overall assessment for the agency: I give them an A rating for quality and overall service.
Part 3 tomorrow will focus on issues facing the agency, as well as my recommendations on how to further improve the overall service it already provides for Marin County residents.
Being the main public transportation provider for Marin County, Golden Gate Transit serves several cities and communities in the county with an above-average rating for passenger comfort and service.
I commute between my home in Novato and San Francisco at least twice a week to go to school, and I find that my commute does not only depend on how much I pay for the trip overall, but also by the quality of service I get from riding the bus. And in my opinion, Golden Gate Transit has exceeded my standards for quality public transit, not only because of the buses being well-maintained and exceeding my standards for a city bus, but also of the quality of service provided by the drivers and the communities that are being served by the agency.
Started in 1972 as a result of multiple studies on the feasibility of a public transit service for the county, Golden Gate Transit, one of the three jurisdictions that make up the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District (District), is one of the larger transit agencies in the Bay Area, and in my opinion, one of the safest and most well-maintained. Despite the fact that it provides local services in Marin County, Golden Gate Transit also extends its wings to serve Sonoma County to the north, Contra Costa County to the east, and San Francisco to the south. And, despite the economic and environmental challenges facing the San Francisco Bay Area, Golden Gate Transit strives to be environmentally-friendly while being sensitive to the economic needs and situation of the county by purchasing new hybrid-operated vehicles used for both local and commute services, as well as constantly improving its operations quarterly by adjusting routes and schedules according to demand to improve running time and performance.
Tomorrow, I will discuss what makes Golden Gate Transit a great agency that other companies can model upon.
The Clipper Card is meant to help passengers shy away from grabbing cash from their wallets or show a (sometimes torn-up) paper transfer to use public transit. But, is it really worth the cost when the system hiccups?I wrote on my earlier blog about what happened on an inbound bus on Golden Gate Transit: I boarded the bus when the Clipper card reader worked just fine. As the bus went close to its final stops before heading express on the freeway, the machine suddenly read "DC Not Responding". I told myself, "oh, oh... how will I tag out properly when it persists when I get off the bus? I will end up paying more for my commute today than the usual!"Another time, in a Muni bus (and this has happened many times already), as I board a 28 (Nineteenth Avenue) inbound bus, the machine read, again, "DC Not Responding". Then I asked the driver "Clipper not working?" The Asian driver replied "No, get in", then I moved inside the bus, making it a free ride for me that day. Interesting, isn't it? Not only I saved a Muni fare ($2.00), but I also saved time from trying to put my card properly at the "Clipper icon" where I tag my card!But, this had to be the worst: I boarded a Muni Metro "M" (Ocean View) inbound train for Downtown, when I saw about 3 of the 6 readers showing "DC Not Responding" or "Out of Service". I hesitantly asked where a functioning card reader was on the train since I don't want to ride on a train without tagging my card. The deal with Muni is that fare evaders are both a nuisance and common in the transit agency, resulting in millions of dollars of fare losses from their deceiving acts of riding the bus at the rear door without paying or showing any transfer ticket or (the now obsolete) Fast Pass card. With that scenario, fare checkers (as many as three) would board any train or bus anytime of the day, checking on all passengers to see if they've paid their fare, either by showing a transfer ticket (good for 90 minutes, but some hand out transfers good for 3 hours!), showing a valid Fast Pass, or by inserting the Clipper (formerly TransLink) Card onto a card reader verifying if the card has been tagged, along with the transfer time expiration shown. I've even passed by them at least three times: twice before I got out of the Muni Metro Downtown (at Montgomery Street and Powell), and once on board the train! Whew, it could be a headache, but thank them for doing a great job skimming through the fare evaders.
It's easy to see why many people use--and abuse--the Clipper Card system. First of all, when it was introduced, Muni allowed card holders to have a minimum balance of $2 to ride the system (the adult fare for Muni stands at $2, youth/seniors at $0.75). Fair thought, isn't it? But, when Muni and BART discovered that even though that a card's balance can go negative (thanks to a computer flaw), passengers can still ride the system! That was a serious flaw that has been discussed in several newscasts in the Bay Area, and along with that, the Clipper Card has been used several times to evade the system by hopping onto a bus or train and not tag the card (Muni requires passengers to tag their cards only once), which is pretty similar to what other fare evaders do, another reason that Muni has been losing transit revenue from not paying the proper fare or tagging the card. (See the news article here
If that's not enough, digest this one: in February this year, a computer glitch has caused about 150 riders to be overcharged, totaling up to $14,000. While the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has compensated those passengers for unusually high fare payments, it shows another issue: the technology itself still needs to be modernized--to catch up at least--to keep up with the increasing number of vehicles and stations that will handle the Clipper Card since the MTC relaunched it from TransLink in 2009. (See the news article here
And, if those are not enough, here's another story that you might want to hear: despite the amount of resources available for use in the Bay Area's larger communities, there is still a gap among users who have been accustomed to using transit passes or paying cash to ride transit with those who have been using Clipper (and TransLink). This is especially true in San Francisco, where a large Asian population (many of whom having English as a second language) face language issues on the advantages of using the card, as well as the capability to travel beyond the City with seven agencies (along with Muni) using the system along with the traditional cash method, and it can hopefully allow them to save money while continuing to use transit on a regular basis (See the news article here
Lately, an interesting thought has come along with Clipper, not with the cards themselves, but with the card reader machines: in some Muni Metro trains, the "deafening" buzzing sound that means "Tag Card Again" or "Card Error" has been heard too often, too long. And it has been brought to concern by some passengers who think that it has disturbed them too much by the continuous sound that was supposedly caused by multiple tagging-ins by passengers. When it was discovered though, the problem was--surprise--another computer glitch, in which those machines had a patch installed to end the buzzing sounds. (See the news article here
The Clipper Card is an especially useful commuter card since it allows passengers to travel throughout the Bay Area, from Santa Rosa to San Jose, Daly City to Dublin, with ease and simplicity, lessening the need to find cash or using a paper transfer to use public transportation. But, it still has a long way to go to breaking the barriers among passengers, fixing all the computer glitches, and proposing better guidelines and fare structures, all of which are aimed to providing Bay Area commuters a smoother, faster, cheaper way to travel.
Here's a problem I just encountered today: I rode my regular commute bus heading to San Francisco from my home in Novato when after just a few stops, the Clipper card machine suddenly went "DC Not Responding" -- and it's a bad thing for me. Why? I cannot tag out from my bus! And if I can't tag out, Clipper will charge me the highest possible fare for my commute today, which is $7.76 instead of $4.92 (a $2.64 difference!) Fortunately, I called Clipper customer service and told them about my latest dilemma, and I will make sure to call them tomorrow to adjust what they'll take out from my card.
Clipper card is a form of a "smart touch card" that allows me to travel without the need for cash, and with it, I get good discounts from my commutes. The perks include:
- 20% off regular rates for all Golden Gate Transit (pictured below)
- 30% off regular rates for Golden Gate Ferry services
- It allows my card to become a "unified" transit pass of its own (I can load it up with a Muni FastPass with BART or AC Transit 31-Day Pass)
- It automatically provides me with a "transfer" that will allow me to transfer to any bus (either within the same agency or between agencies) with the alloted time limit (and even giving me discounts for doing so) -- a comparison on the top picture shows a paper transfer for Muni versus the Clipper Card itself
- It allows me to save a lot of money while saving the environment from throwing away paper transfers after one or multiple uses for the same day.
Currently, seven transit agencies offer the option of paying fares with the Clipper card, including:
- AC Transit (top, right)
- BART (bottom, left)
- Caltrain (not pictured)
- Golden Gate Transit and Ferry (top, center)
- Muni (bottom, right)
- SamTrans (top, left)
- Santa Clara VTA (not pictured)
The best part: I don't need to think about how much cash I'll need to feed the fare box or find the transfer I'll show to the driver just to ride the bus; instead, I tap the card* and find a seat. It's that easy! However, when a machine doesn't work, similar to earlier, it can be a different story that can become a bad situation for both me and the driver (I will discuss later on Nightline). With this commute card, however, not only I save money from paying the full adult fare, it also allows me to save the environment and save time from lining up just to pay my fare.
The Clipper Card: a wonderful way to commute the Bay. More information on the card hereNote: * - for some transit agencies, including BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, and SamTrans express services, a passenger must tap the card twice: once when boarding the vehicle, the other when disembarking, in which the appropriate fare will be calculated instead of being charged the full fare.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad! (Psalms 118:24)
Happy Easter to one and all! I understand that Easter is a time of joy, a time for celebration, a time of renewal. But, in my case, it's more than just the season of happiness: it's a season of preparation as well for my upcoming finals in May too. While basketball fans think about who moves on to the next round of the NBA playoffs and baseball fanatics await the next big home run, university students like me think about what our final projects will be and when the final exams take place to prepare us for the next stage of our college lives, in my case being a senior (at last, but not really) at San Francisco State University.
In my own experience, Easter is a celebration of life, a celebration of love, a celebration of hope. The celebration of Christ resurrecting from the dead brings in a new sense of life to everyone in the community, not just Catholics and Christians who celebrate it. It also brings us a renewed sense of bonding between ourselves and God, our creator and artist, who shaped us uniquely into our own selves, our own bodies, everything "perfect" in His eyes. The bonding I get from God so far in my life has been personal, in which not only I pray to him fervently everyday, but I also work on the promises I offer to him every single day for His greater glory. I know I make mistakes, but God is willing to forgive my faults when I ask Him. Unfortunately, though, while I pray to God often, other issues and challenges come up as well, many of them being out of my control: natural phenomena, wars, economic instability, political mismanagement, all of which creating a huge cloud of fear and uncertainty among all of us.
And yet, Christ rising from the dead shows how much He loves us. He cares about us, He shows us the way to eternal life, He gives us opportunities to return to him when we are lost. If He was not there, we would just be terribly lost in faith and confused as to who we will follow. If He was not there, I would not get the grades I wanted or allow myself to travel safely through my Good Friday pilgrimage. It would have been a very different story. God loves us all, and through his son, Jesus, we are shown how to love God just as His son loved us, and with this Easter celebration, we celebrate Christ's exaltation from our sinfulness and guilt, and He allows us to love Him back without condition or cost. It is something we need to reflect and pray upon, and hopefully, we can give Him the love He deserves.
Finally, Easter is a hopeful season for all of us. I know that even though Christ rose up to heaven on Ascension, He still is with us through the Holy Spirit, and it is something many people tend to forget. We have our own conscience to think that the Holy Spirit (the good spirit) is with us wherever we go, whatever we do, however we deal with our daily lives. But, it is also the Holy Spirit that guides us as well to Christ: He is in us, living with us, showing in our hearts, minds, and souls through our "living conscience", in which I firmly believe in. It is a strong figure that we need to look at because it allows us to judge wisely, grow from our mistakes, and bring people closer together. Christ wants us to love one another as He did for us, and with a season of hope, I hope that we can love one another even though other people criticize us or judge our actions: it is through hope that we can understand the deeper meaning of love and why we celebrate Christ's resurrection in the first place. It is through hope that we can pray that one day, God will allow us into His paradise.
On Good Friday, Christians remember Christ's suffering and death on the cross, as well as how Jesus' death on the cross saved mankind from all sins. Today also marks Earth Day, a celebration of what God has been giving us in the form of living creatures and beings. So, how can I connect two wonderful celebrations in just one day?
My plan for this Good Friday and Earth Day has been simple: practice fasting and abstinence while also practice the three R's of environmental justice (reduce, reuse, recycle), in which I'm happy to say I've accomplished those throughout my trip today to San Francisco. Aside of course from the fact that I've taken the bus instead of a car to get into the city, I also took the opportunity to exercise as well by walking several blocks downhill instead of waiting for a bus so that I can stretch my muscles while enjoying the views of Downtown, Pacific Heights, and Washington Square (remember that gravity works with you when going downhill, the opposite when going uphill). And doing my fasting and abstinence was also quite easy as well: instead of getting diet soda when I had my only meal for the day (fasting requires a full meal and just two small "apportions"), I had a cup of water instead, and I had shrimp and vegetable spring rolls for lunch, complemented with fried rice. I did those, not only to show that I am one with the Christian community in commemorating the passion and death of Christ, but also as a commitment to going back to my roots and reflecting on the less-fortunate brothers and sisters who I notice and think of everyday, as well as understanding what it takes to become a sustainable person in the community and working within my means.
I went to four churches as part of my "Visita Iglesia" (church visits) tradition: St. Patrick's in the South of Market district, St. Mary's Cathedral near Van Ness Avenue, Mission Dolores in the Mission District, and Saints Peter and Paul Church in Washington Square. I spent the most time at St. Mary's because that is where I traditionally celebrate the full Good Friday service (minus the "Seven Last Words" reading and reflection that other churches provide as well), and I've been doing such pilgrimage for the past three years. Officiating the service is none other than the Archbishop of San Francisco, and the service, as a whole, is very impressive: the Gospel of the Passion according to John is sung wondrously; the Archbishop's homily reminds me of how, despite how other writers depict Christ, Christ continues to love us to this day; and the motets were beautifully sung by the church choir (in a cappella). Despite a large crowd that went to the church, the overall feeling of visiting St. Mary's today has been a somber, reflective one, reminiscent of how Christ loved us that he sacrificed his life for our salvation, and it also reflects how, despite all the crises we face today, I can help in unifying the Catholic community in prayer and giving back to the community what I have, as well as providing help for all those who need my assistance.
Beyond the church visits, I also noticed that I felt much better going around the city with just a limited amount of money in my hands for the commute. By walking around instead of driving a car and finding the closest parking spot, by eating less on my plate rather than getting a full meal, by being mindful of what I spend instead of just swiping my card whenever I find something interesting, it seems like my Good Friday and Earth Day has been a rewarding and great experience. Today has been rewarding for me, not only because I got to visit more sights in a day, but also I used my feet more to explore the areas not served by a bus. It is also rewarding for me to eat only what I can consume and give money to the people in need because I realize how connected I am to other peoples' lives. And today has gone great for me because I have prayed intently for a lot of people: my family, friends, cousins, close relatives, all those dear to my heart, asking for their intentions to be granted and be forgiven for all the wrongdoing I have done against them. The best part: as I traveled around the City, I have been rewarded with wonderful, clear skies, making it an ideal day to do photography, something I've been looking forward to for weeks. And with the wonderful day Good Friday has been, I probably ended up taking hundreds of photos, many of them I will share next time on my Photos pages.
Good Friday is a day of remembrance of Christ's life and love for us, while Earth Day is a celebration of life around us on earth. Both Christ and life are God's gifts to us, so celebrate the beauty of the planet while remembering Christ's passion for our salvation, and hopefully, we can reflect on how we can hopefully bring ourselves to the light of God guiding our lives today and in the future.
It's a dream for a lot of tech junkies out there to get their hands on a shiny new iPad 2. Now it's my turn to have one, and my assessment is highly positive.As I arrived home, I saw on my counter top a regular box that contained my order information: March 22, my name, address, and barcodes galore. And I went upstairs and slowly opened the box. It then came to my mind that something really special is in it: the gadget I've waited for a month, my brand new iPad 2! But, as I looked at the equipment that went along with it, it seems like they did not include a set of earplugs in it: instead, it has a plug-in charger that I can use to charge my new gadget. Sure, it's a great thing to have, but, I've got a lot of chargers at home, so thank you very much, Apple!As I first saw the wide screen and my name engraved on the back of the iPad, it seemed like it has something special for me that I'll use it everyday like my laptop, and sure did, the iPad won my heart. Not only it has a wide (about 10" screen), but also the dual-facing cameras look great even in dark areas, the audio has been extended that I can listen to music or radio streaming without my headphones, and the overall aesthetics of the gadget complements my lifestyle of being a tech geek and a student. Plus, I ordered two extra items to go along with it: a gray Smart Cover to protect my iPad when not in use (also a wonderful holder if I want it to be like a picture frame, pictured), and a camera connector that allows me to upload pictures directly from either my camera or my Eye-Fi SD memory card, both of which would be very useful for my photography. The best part: with the wide screen and the graphic interface comparable to any modern tablet today, the iPad 2 is akin to a netbook and a music player in one, only that it's thinner than the original iPad, more powerful, and has more features that will make techies and families wait for months just to have one. With 16GB and powerful WiFi (I opted not to get the 3G version due to added costs later to my phone bill), the iPad touch surpasses my expectations for portability, performance, and user-friendliness, and I just like to have it next to me on a daily basis.More information on the iPad can be found here, and more pictures below.
San Francisco State University has imposed another tuition hike yet again for the upcoming Fall, and as usual, it affects students like me. The question though is, how much more I should pay?
I've got an email today regarding the upcoming Fall semester registration, and here comes the pressing question:Shall I do a full load next semester or stick to part-time as usual?
Here's the deal: I'm currently listed as an "out-of-state" student, even though I've lived in California for five years now. I know, right? I need just at least a year to be pay "resident" fees, but, due to reasons I won't disclose here, San Francisco State University still puts me on an "out-of-state" status. Fortunately, though, I'm not an international student: the payments would be much worse than what I'm paying right now.
Yes, I've also heard of scholarship, grant, and loan offers, but I have a particular vendetta with loans myself. Even my family discourages borrowing money from anywhere because we know that after college, I have to pay back all the loans I owed for a certain amount of time by working my butt. Working is something I like to do, but not when I want to pay off my debts since it can really put me into more problems later, from groceries to house payments, commute costs to utility bills. That's why despite the fact that I pay a lot now for my university, my mom simply reminds me:I can go to school, but only with what we (my family) can afford.
So, here's a breakdown of my plan: either take 6, 8, or 12 units, and I will put down my calculations below:
(Note that all calculations are based on an installment plan, with the total lump sum comparison included as well. Also included would be the resident rate, if ever I was placed on such status. Values are for the upcoming Fall 2011 semester and does not reflect previous semesters' fees, and out-of-state installment rates are estimates.)
For six units:Tuition Rate (Resident):
$1,809.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, lump sum):
$1,809.00 + ($372.00/unit x 6 units) = $4,041.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, installments): Payment 1:
$1,809.00 + ($124.00/unit x 6 units) = $2,553.00 Payments 2 & 3:
($124.00/unit x 6 units) + 15% "convenience fee" = $855.60 (each payment) Total:
For eight units:Tuition Rate (Resident):
$2,835.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, lump sum):
$2,835.00 + ($372.00/unit x 8 units) = $5,811.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, installments): Payment 1:
$2,835.00 + ($124.00/unit x 8 units) = $3,827.00 Payments 2 & 3:
($124.00/unit x 8 units) + 15% "convenience fee" = $1,140.80 (each payment) Total:
For twelve units (a.k.a. full load):Tuition Rate (Resident):
$2,835.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, lump sum):
$2,835.00 + ($372.00/unit x 12 units) = $7,299.00Tuition Rate (Out-of-State, installments): Payment 1:
$2,835.00 + ($124.00/unit x 12 units) = $4,323.00 Payments 2 & 3:
($124.00/unit x 12 units) + 15% "convenience fee" = $1,711.20 (each payment) Total:
And here are my observations:
- Regular (tuition) fees seem to go nowhere but up
- Every unit I get, I pay $372 due to my "status", and it seems like the rate for $372 per unit is way greater than the original tuition rate (if I'm a resident)
- Although I pay less originally if I do installments, it seems like the final total bill would be way higher than if I pay the whole thing lump sum, something that warrants lots of questions on my financial situation
So, now I expose my situation, what do you think would be a best solution to reduce "tuition hikes" and give deserving students a chance to finish university in time with the career they want?
(For the full details of the values I mentioned, visit the SF State Bursar's Page on Undergraduate Fees
So what's my fuss with public transport and it works? Simply put:
1) It's convenient. I live within a 1/4 mile of a bus stop that allows me to travel to San Francisco, and I just love the convenience of traveling anytime of day (even on holidays). Just don't tell me to travel beyond 8pm: there's no bus running through my place beyond that time.
2) It's cheap. Compared to driving, I just pay $7 one way to go to San Francisco or $1.80 to travel within Marin County using my Clipper card. Don't tell me to drive, though: Marin gas prices are up the roof, up to $4.25 a gallon for fueling my dad's car or $4.40 for my aunt's car.
3) It's environmentally-friendly. I cut down my carbon emissions by at least half compared to driving, and I also save a lot of wasted energy from driving alone to San Francisco.
4) I save a lot of money. Instead of paying $8.15 in cash to travel to San Francisco by transit, I save 20% at least for using my Clipper card to transit. Plus, I save a lot of money from parking fines and fees, as well as gasoline and tolls, things I consider about all the time.
5) I can relax on my trips. Instead of stressing my time looking through busy intersections, I can read a book, listen to music, or even talk to a friend without the fuss of staring through cars waiting through a traffic light.