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Bay Area transit agencies raising fares tomorrow

 

Bay Area commuters will have to carry a little more pocket change beginning Wednesday when fare hikes go into effect for many transit agencies grappling with budget deficits.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board in April approved an increase in Muni fares as well cuts to service to help close its unprecedented $129 million budget deficit, spokesman Judson True said.

Muni's adult single-ride cash fare will be bumped up by 50 cents to $2, and discount single-ride fares for seniors, youth and disabled people will go up by 75 cents, a 25-cent increase.

The monthly Fast Pass rate will rise from $45 to $55 and discount Fast Passes will increase from $10 to $15.

Although the agency's finances were hit hard by the recession, True said, "Our goal is to continue to provide the best service possible to our customers in these difficult times."

BART fares will increase by 6.1 percent, with the minimum fare increasing by 25 cents, from $1.50 to $1.75.

In an effort to close BART's $54 million budget deficit, directors also voted to increase the surcharge for trips to and from San Francisco International Airport by $2.50, from $1.50 to $4.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District's bus fares will also increase on Wednesday, for the first time since 2005.

Adult bus fares will cost $2 instead of $1.75 while youth and senior fares, along with tickets for people with disabilities, will jump from 85 cents to $1.

The cost of 10-ride tickets will rise from $17.50 to $20 and a monthly pass will now cost $80 instead of $70.

AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said the agency is also considering service cuts, layoffs and a hiring freeze to help address that agency's $57 million deficit.

Fares for the Golden Gate Ferry and Golden Gate Transit bus system are increasing by 5 percent. A trip from Santa Rosa to San Francisco, for example, will cost riders $9.25, a 45 cent increase.

Caltrain, which hiked the base fare by 25 cents in January to close a $2.7 million deficit, is not increasing fares again anytime soon, but spokeswoman Christine Dunn said the agency is considering reducing midday service, increasing parking fees and raising the price of the Go Pass.

Samtrans will consider service cuts at a public hearing in August. The transit agency, which faces a $28.4 million budget deficit, last increased fares in February.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is considering a fare increase in October to help offset their budget deficit, spokeswoman Jennie Loft said.

VTA reduced its deficit from a projected $78 million in February to $30 million through labor savings, including wage freezes and furloughs.

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