Coming back from Berlin yesterday, I decided to take public transit. I took BART from SFO to Embarcadero station, where I had to switch to Muni to get home. The fare was $1.25 (after a paper BART to Muni transfer discount) and I had a $20 bill and a $1 bill. I also had about $40 on my BART ticket, but that doesn’t work on Muni. Here are the parameters:
- There’s a staffed booth, but the staff can’t make change and you can’t just hand them money.
- You can’t buy a pass with a credit card.
- The turnstiles take only coins.
- There’s a change machine that will give you $1 coins for $5 and $10 bills.
- There’s another machine (marked for BART) that will make change for $20 bills and give you $5 bills.
- There’s a BART ticket machine that has an option to get change for $1 bills.
It worked out to be a 4-step process using 4 different machines (not counting the machine that issues the BART to Muni transfers):
- Put the $20 bill in the BART bill change machine and get 4 $5 bills.
- Put the $1 bill in the BART ticket machine to get 4 quarters.
- Walk across the hall and put one of the $5 bills into the Muni change machine to get 5 $1 coins. Whoops, it won’t take it. Turns out it doesn’t take the new $5 bills. Fortunately, I had gotten one of the old ones.
- Put the $1 coin and a quarter into the turnstile and hand the paper slip to the agent to let me through.
No wonder people hate using public transit.