BART considers 20-cent TransBay tube surcharge to spare employee layoffs

Contra Costa director rejects any fare hike as board tables any action

At the end of a lengthy hearing on their transit agency's $25 million budget deficit, BART directors ultimately opted not to take any action because of concerns about a staff proposal that could result in the layoffs of up to 19 employees.

BART budget manager Carter Mau outlined a plan to balance the agency's deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, by cutting $3.1 million in labor costs and $2.9 million in non-labor costs as well as by using $19 million in federal stimulus funds and federal flexible funds.

But BART board president James Fang said he had reservations about the plan.

Fang and the board majority told staff members Friday to look for creative ways to balance the budget that avoid layoffs.

Fang suggested that BART could increase its revenues by $17.5 million a year by imposing a 20-cent surcharge on passengers who use the Transbay tube between the East Bay and San Francisco.

"In light of the plan to increase the bridge tolls, this is something we should explore," Fang said.

But general manager Dorothy Dugger said that when BART studied the Transbay tube surcharge during budget discussions last year it estimated that it would only generate $4.7 million a year.

She noted that Fang's estimate assumed that the surcharge would apply to all BART riders but she said only about half of passenger trips go through the Transbay tube.

Director Gail Murray said she opposes a Transbay tube surcharge because riders already complain that BART is too expensive and the increase "will drive away more riders."

Director Joel Keller, who represents part of Contra Costa County, as does Murray, said, "A fare increase of any sort would be rejected in Contra Costa County."

Mau proposed cutting 74 positions, at least 30 of which currently are vacant. He said many of the affected employees will be transferred to other jobs at BART and that he hopes that layoffs will be minimized through attrition.

Dugger said management gave some employees verbal notice last week that they may be laid off effective June 30.

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Like this comment
Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

Here we go again! Bart Board President Fang looks for new ways to drive riders away from Bart while suggesting that his 20% surcharge would raise 17.5 million to save somewhere between 19 and 74 jobs of which 30 are currently vacant. At 74 that is $236,486 a job!!! How much do we pay people like Mr Fany to run so called public affordable transportation? At what point does he not get it? Justifies the suggested surcharge by saying the bridge tolls will be going up so we (Bart)can raise prices too! Once again we have a fool running the circus and not having a single logical and reasonable approach to helping those who are paying his salary by the riding Bart. I am sure he will now reconsider and have some lame excuse for the idea. Maybe if prices stay down there will be too many people using Bart- so why not charge for parking,apply a surcharge for sitting down, a fee for riding the esculator, restroom use fee a fee on the newspaper guy,or charge the TAX drivers a fee for waiting at the stations-- Maybe we should ask Mr Fang how he gets to and from "work"-- in a Bart provided car no doubt with free parking, gas etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Another tax proposal essentially. Why? Because our system has no money, or rather I should say they waste all our money. On what? Illegal immigrants, cultural welfare abusers, and an exceedingly lame yet money-devouring education system. There are those who wish to break the back of the good American taxpayer. I say we break theirs

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I agree with Gunslinger. There also seems to be very little accountability. Amtrak is subsidized by the Government (at least partially) and look how "efficient" it is. What a joke!

Like this comment
Posted by reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm

The problem with BART's costs are their employee costs are the highest of just about any transit agency. BART even admits it. Go to their jobs site and you see this:

"BART offers one of the most comprehensive compensation and benefits programs you will find anywhere. We pay at rates that are strongly competitive in the labor market, and complement our pay program with an outstanding benefits package. Benefits include the renowned CalPERS pension, excellent medical, vision, and dental coverage, supplemental insurances, excellent paid holidays and vacation, as well as two investment programs, one of which is entirely funded by BART on your behalf. BART also saves you money in your paycheck because no deductions are made for Social Security."

Search on open jobs and you also see a job of executive manager that pays up to $211,672.03!

You can also see a job for a Elevator/Escalator maintenance person whose primary job is "cleaning of escalators, including checking handrails, steps, combs, contacts, relays, plates, rollers and brakes" and that pays $27.24 /hour to $35.60 /hour

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