By Jen Kinney.
Back in March, the San Francisco region’s Bay Area Rapid Transit received a flurry of press coverage about a new program, “BART Perks,” which would offer cash and other rewards to entice commuters to travel at times other than rush hour. The six-month trial launched at the end of August, and details about how it all works are a little, well, complicated.
Melia Robinson reports for Business Insider that BART Perks requires four pages of Frequently Asked Questions. She’s one of the commuters the program is designed to attract — those headed to busy San Francisco stations from the East Bay. Riders in the pilot earn a point for every mile traveled on BART, and additional points for every mile traveled during a designated “bonus hour.” There are two bonus hours each morning, one on either side of the peak morning rush hour of 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Here’s where it gets tricky. There’s not a set multiplier for the number of points received during a bonus hour. Commuters start off at bronze level and can graduate to silver, gold and platinum as they consistently travel during bonus hours. So a commuter who makes two bonus hour trips a week for a period of at least two weeks would graduate to silver and start earning 4 points per mile traveled.
But get this: 1,000 points only equals $1. Robinson notes that with her 9-mile-a-day, five-days-a-week commute, she would start off earning 3 points per mile. If she commuted during bonus hours at least twice a week for two weeks, she’d graduate to silver and earn four points per mile. By the end of the month, she’d still be just shy of 1,500 points.