UC Berkeley students may soon have a smoother BART experience, in part due to a resolution passed at Wednesday’s ASUC Senate meeting urging campus administrators to integrate Clipper card capacities into the Cal 1 Card by Fall 2016.
Student Action Senator Andre Luu — who considered transportation one of his primary platforms during campaigning — drafted a senate resolution in response to discussions with administrators who originally said the project was technologically possible but had not garnered enough outward support from students.
Luu said he hopes the passing of this resolution, although technically symbolic, will “mount further pressure on the administration” to ensure equitable access to BART.
The Clipper card allows public transit users to load funds onto a single card that can be used for all Bay Area transit options, including BART and some parking locations.
With the addition of Clipper card capabilities, the Cal 1 Card would eliminate the need for students to stand in line each semester for “class passes,” which allow free rides on AC Transit. In addition, students would be able to load funds directly on their Cal 1 Cards to cover BART rides.
According to the resolution, students without Clipper cards — many of whom commute regularly on public transportation for clubs, work, airport travel and family vacations — are currently forced to carry cash or credit cards, risking misplacement and theft.
Upon his election to ASUC Senate, Luu met with project manager Michelle Mason, who explained that while providing Cal 1 Cards with Clipper card accessibility to incoming students would not be difficult, it might not be logistically and financially practical to reprint cards for the entire student body.
According to Mason, the Student Affairs Information Technologies office sent out a survey to campus organizations that aimed to gather information about how Cal 1 Cards are used among students, faculty and staff. When all the data is received, she and others working on the project will have a better estimation of its feasibility.
“It all boils down to whether campus departments have the actual funding to make the necessary technological updates,” she said. “I understand that this is a big initiative for students, but we can’t use student money to do this.”
When the bill was brought to the floor at Monday’s University and External Affairs Committee meeting, CalSERVE Senator Wes Adrianson suggested amending the bill to emphasize the need to encourage the use of public transportation, given the campus’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2025. The amendment was added to the bill’s final version.
“The life of a Berkeley student is not just confined to campus,” said Student Action Senator Will Morrow, who signed off as a co-sponsor of the resolution. “Having easier access to Bay Area transportation could help facilitate further student interaction with the local community.”