BART considering temporary cut in fares

New analysis shows agency could finish next fiscal year with budget surplus

Several BART directors said yesterday that the transit agency should consider temporarily decreasing fares in the wake of its improving fiscal condition.

BART staff members estimated in February that the agency would face a $14 million budget deficit or the fiscal year that begins in July, but general manager Dorothy Dugger said Monday that the deficit is now projected to be $10 million thanks to a $26 million infusion of state funding.

And staff members said at Thursday's board meeting that BART could actually finish fiscal 2011 with a surplus of several million dollars if all goes well.

BART director Joel Keller said, "We should consider a one-time reduction that's responsible and affordable as a way of saying thank you to our riders."

However, he said, "I know it can't be permanent."

Noting criticism that he and several other directors may be considering fare reductions only because they're up for re-election this year, Keller said the fare reduction could be delayed until Jan. 1 "so it takes it out of the political arena this year."

In an apparent slip of the tongue, board president James Fang, who also is up for re-election, said he wants to reduce fares "to express our appreciation to our voters, I mean our riders."

Last July, BART raised fares 6.1 percent to help balance its budget. BART spokesman Linton Johnson said Dugger "would feel more comfortable rolling back fares if all of our other fiscal obligations were met," noting that the transit agency has many capital needs.

However, Johnson said it ultimately will be up to the board to decide whether to reduce fares for a short period, such as six months. BART's finance committee will meet on Monday to discuss the agency's proposed $582 million fiscal 2011 preliminary operating budget and consider decreasing fares.

There will be a public hearing on the budget on May 27 and BART directors are scheduled to adopt the budget on June 10.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I'd rather they keep the money and use it to clean those disgusting seats more often or better yet, get some new fabric and re-do the flat cushions. Also, I'd rather then enclose the stations to reduce noise from the freeway. I'm sure there are lots of other ideas on how to spend the extra money and improve BART. Also would like to see the charity requests onboard stop, perhaps some security on the trains!

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Of course if they lowered the fares/parking etc, it might become cheaper to take BART than drive. Right now it’s an iffy proposition unless you are traveling by yourself from a location next to a station, to a location next to a station. As much as I like the idea of BART, it is rarely worth the hassle or expense.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

1) Security
2) Clean-up the stink-bomb trains
3) New cushions

Compared to the Washington D.C. metro or regional transit/light rail in Europe, BART is absolutely atrocious.

Like this comment
Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I've ridden the Bart many times to SF and back. Keep the money and clean up the trains, get new cushions and hire more security. My last ride was very scary with aggressive, obnoxious teens and now I'm not sure I feel comfortable enough to ride BART to SF!!

Like this comment
Posted by $26 million-
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

Why not put in toward keeping their original promise for a Livermore Station?
They have been paying extra taxes for generations, for a service that does not serve them.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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

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