BART directors appear likely to raise fares on July 1

But call for 6.1% increase, down from 10% staff proposed

BART directors signaled Thursday that they probably will raise fares by at least 6 percent on July 1 but they backed away from a staff proposal to raise fares by 10 percent across the board.

Currently, BART fares are slated to go up by 6.1 percent Jan. 1 under a fiscal stability program that calls for fares to be raised every two years based on cost-of-living adjustments.

But BART staff members want to move up the fare increase to July 1 because the transit agency faces a $54 million budget deficit for the fiscal year starting at that time and a $249 million budget shortfall over the next four years.

BART's staff wants to increase fares by 10 percent, but in a short discussion at the end of a seven-hour meeting that mainly focused on other topics BART directors generally said they don't want to raise fares by that much.

Director James Fang of San Francisco said he only wants to increase fares by 6.1 percent for most riders but he wants to increase fares to the San Francisco International Airport by $4, up to a maximum of $9.35.

Fang said the increase on rides to San Francisco's airport would only hit 3.5 million of the 100 million riders who use BART every year and most of those riders are from outside the Bay Area.

He said a $9.35 fare would "still be a bargain" compared to other ways of getting to the airport and would enable BART to avoid imposing a large fare hike on its core riders.

Several other directors said they would favor a 5-cent surcharge on all BART rides to help pay for feeder bus service to BART stations, as the state has slashed funding for bus service.

And some directors also suggested increasing the minimum fare on BART, which currently is $1.50.

In addition, BART's staff is looking at imposing parking fees to more stations than those which currently have parking fees and at reducing the frequency of service.

However, no action was taken today on any of the proposals for raising fares or increasing parking fees.

BART currently is scheduled to have a public hearing on the possible fare hikes on May 28 and the board is slated to vote on them on June 11, but transit agency spokesman Linton Johnson said those dates could be moved up.

But it looks like the earliest there could be a fare hike is July 1, he said.

In addition to fare hikes, BART's management also is proposing to cut $100 million in labor costs as a way of helping reduce the massive budget shortfall.

Management says it is asking for employees to pick up more of the cost of their benefits and pensions so riders and taxpayers don't have to.

BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger has called for reducing 100 positions but 85 of those currently are vacant.

Management's proposals are a sore subject for BART's five unions, who have been in contract talks with management since April 1.

The unions' contracts expire on June 30.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by freida
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 24, 2009 at 10:07 am

What's the difference between Bart employees and the bank CEO's?
gimme, gimme, gimme. Bart employee's with their huge salaries and fat benefit packages should, like the rest of us, take a pay cut and be damned glad they have a job. So many people are unemployed and if they do have a job can't afford to get to it. Transportation costs are going up faster than child care and housing. Hey! I'd be happy to take one of those Bart jobs for less money. I can stand and be rude to riders and I could do it without the smug attitude.

Like this comment
Posted by DB
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 24, 2009 at 11:42 am

I work at SFO. I know that hundreds of SFO workers take BART to work and many of them have jobs that don't pay alot. These people will be adversely effected by BART charging a surcharge to SFO. I'm sure the fat cats on the board couldn't care less. I for one will be getting back in my car. IT's a shame because I like riding BART, but I will be done, It will no longer be cost effective for me.

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 11:30 am

I'm tired of seeing costs passed onto the individuals instead of the organizations in question controling costs and making cutbacks. Before BART even THINKS about raising fares they should tell us what they are doing to control their budget. Forget BART! I'll drive my Prius and listen to audio books in the car if I have to drive into the city.

poo on you BART! You stink!

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Another thing that bothers me about the proposed increases will be the effect it has on people who have NO OTHER CHOICE but to take BART. I'm fortunate in that I have a nice car to drive that gets great gas mileage. What about those that don't have a car? Or who share a car with a spouse/partner and have no alternatives. They are FORCED into paying higher fees, which I think is absolutely unfair.

Like this comment
Posted by AV
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Wow, lots of interesting points of view.
At first I was going to say that at least BART is dealing with its budget problems by asking those who actually use BART to help solve their budget problems.
But Qwerty has a good point and I'm reminded that I've seen many people exiting the BART station in Pleasanton and either walking home, or taking a bus home. Increased fares will be hard on them, and does seem unfair since they're actually using public transportation and reducing their carbon footprints.
It just seems as if every aspect of the economy has imploded in the last few months.

Like this comment
Posted by Libertarian
a resident of Castlewood
on May 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Sell BART (and WHEELS) to a private corporation. Let it make it or break it depending on the market. I never take BART so I don't want my (local, state, and federal) taxes supporting somebody else's transportation welfare. We should all be driving single occupancy autos anyway to stimulate the economy (global warming is an Al Gore hoax, BTW).

This is America! If you can't afford a car, then get a better job so you can! How hard is that to understand?

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I don't even bother with BART anymore as it is filthy and some pretty unsavory characters hang out on it. Many of the seats are stained and honestly the cars smell of urine.

Like this comment
Posted by Bart is also Noisy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

Apparently BARTD, which promised comfortable seats, and quiet cars, is now installing noisy floor coverings, which amplify the track and motor noise. It is really loud!
If they must remove the carpet, couldn't they install some sort of underlayment to cut down on noise?

They also promised to run the train to Livermore.
Those people have been forced to pay BARTD Taxes for over 25 years, but have no station, and nearly no way to get to BARTD, yet BARTD has money to build a second station for Dublin.

What ever happened to integrity?

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Downtown
on May 6, 2009 at 11:03 am

They ripped out the carpeting because they could not keep it clean or did not want to routinely clean it and did this to reduce cost. They put down a solid floor covering which they can just wash with soap and water which they also do not do as it also is filthy. You should ask Scott Haggerty our county supervisor or Mr. greed and graft about why it is not into Livermore. Maybe the money was spent to settle some of his sexual harrassment cases out of court.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Reading List
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 707 views

Castlewood members considering offer from Bay Club
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 645 views