Friday, March 02, 2007

Growing # of BART tickets for sale on Craigslist

As I'm browsing Craigslist for NCAA tournament tickets (GO UCLA BRUINS!!!) the past couple of months, I've been noticing an increasing number of postings selling high value BART tickets at lower price.

I am a daily BART commuter. I get commuter checks from my employer and use them to purchase high value tickets. I guess I could see why other people who receive commuter checks but don't actually commute, buy the high value BART tickets and sell them for personal gain. Why not make some cash? But, that just seems very wrong to me.

The ease of commerce on Craigslist encourages and nurtures these types of profit-making behavior. But selling BART tickets is not the same as selling Southwest flight vouchers, an item that is meant to be a reward for the flyer.

But many of you will probably say....who am I to judge? People will say that this is a win-win situation. The seller of the BART tickets earns some cash, while the buyer of the BART tickets saves money on regular fares. I guess the only "loser" is BART? But if this 2nd hand BART ticket sales trend becomes a big enough problem that law-abiding, daily commuters like me have to deal with YET ANOTHER fare hike, I certainly would insist BART to do something against these ticket sellers on Craigslist.

Just take a look at these in the past week alone: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/tix?query=bart

10 comments:

ConcordCommuter said...

I'm not sure if the resale of BART tickets is allowed or not per BART's rules. If BART does not allow them to be resold, then it would be a violation of craigslist's terms of use, and any similar ads should be flagged off as "prohibited"

Anonymous said...

Most likely all false. If there's one thing in life I learned is to never trust strangers selling you something that's too good to be true, regardless of the "popularity" of whatever they're selling or in this case the number of Craig's List postings. It's probably some new scam.

Dan said...

I think there are probably many genuine articles being sold, mixed in with a few scammers. For that reason, someone would have to be extraordinarily stupid to gamble on getting the genuine article via Craigslist.

John said...

My thinking is that re-selling a BART ticket would be of no consoquence(sp) to BART because:
1) BART can only sell one ticket one time.
2) A BART ticket can only be used for the amount of dollars stated on the ticket.

My view on the employer who provides the subsidy (commuter check) is different though. This would be an employee benefit that is not transferable.
My company does not provide to me the subsidy.
So, my opinion is...cool.
I'd probably buy a ticket from someone, as long as I can beat them up if I got burnt ;-)
jbap21

Anonymous said...

I BOUGHT TICKETS FROM C-LIST BEFORE AND THEY WERE DEMAGNETIZED. IT WAS A PAIN IN THE ASS TO GET A REFUND FROM BART BUT WHEN I DID I GOT MORE THAN WHAT I PAID FOR.

Steven Vance said...

In Chicago, we have Metra commuter rail to a little bit of Wisconsin, a little bit of northern Indiana, and all of the suburbs.

There's a $5 weekend fare, for unlimited travel on the network. Some people use these on Saturday and then post on C-list Saturday night that they are giving away their ticket to the first person who picks it up.

Separately, I believe that all transit agencies bar ticket transferring.

brycen said...

Chances of a resold cash value ticket not having a fraudulent backstory are near zero. The only legitimate story would be someone who left on a airplane after a once-in-a-lifetime trip with value still on the card. The others are magnetic duplicates (not so hard to do), commuter check fraud (even easier), just fraud (risky but easy), and stolen goods.

dooder8 said...

Brycen, you might be jumping to conclusions without all the facts. These vouchers are often the result of a tax deduction. $115 per month for combined commuter highway vehicle transportation and transit passes may be excluded from FICA and Fed wages. The employer may distribute the vouchers to the employee up to three months in advance. If someone does not use this full amount up, they might sell the balance on craigslist. I am sure many bart tickets are sold on craigslist as a result.

Anonymous said...

I have, and am currently, selling BART tickets at half face value. I lost my job that was BART friendly after having been issuesd commuter checks, and my employer did not want the tickets returned when asked. I now have a new job that I carpool to. These tickets are a resource that, when sold at a discount, can help me get through a tough time, and help someone else reduce their commute costs. Who gets hurt here?

Anonymous said...

my money was deducted pre tax from my payroll check. i got a commute check but my van owner only wanted cash. i used the check to buy bart tickets as the check would expire and i didn't want all the hasle of trying to return the commute check. after 5 years i have finally used them all up. i should have sold them as the bart fare from 5 years ago went up alot.