News

BART calling for emergency funding support amid ridership decline

Latest data show 85% drop on Tuesday during coronavirus crisis

BART officials have called for emergency local, state and federal funding support as the transit agency hemorrhages money and ridership due to fears of spreading the novel coronavirus.

BART Board President Lateefah Simon and General Manager Bob Powers have lobbied officials for emergency funding, arguing that the agency is facing a monthly loss of $37 million in fare revenue at current ridership levels and an overall revenue loss of $55 million per month when accounting for a loss in economic activity.

Monday's BART ridership was down 70% compared to an average Monday in February, while the agency's preliminary data showed an 85% ridership drop on Tuesday.

"This is a financial crisis for BART," Simon said. "This level of catastrophic revenue loss is not sustainable and threatens future service. We need reassurance from all levels of government that transit will not be left out."

Agency officials have requested that funding subsidies for public transit systems be included in future stimulus bills as the federal government tries to keep the economy from collapsing. BART also plans to apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to shore up its revenue losses.

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The agency is also requesting a $55 million allocation from the state's $500 million coronavirus response funding package and an operating subsidy from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

BART continues to run its standard service hours, with largely empty trains and station platforms, allowing riders to practice social distancing and refrain from potentially spreading coronavirus.

"As the backbone of transportation in the Bay Area, we will also play an essential role during the economic recovery process," Powers said. "Access to emergency funding is needed to keep the Bay Area moving once the region begins to recover."

No coronavirus cases had been confirmed on BART, as of press time Wednesday.

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BART calling for emergency funding support amid ridership decline

Latest data show 85% drop on Tuesday during coronavirus crisis

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 2:15 pm

BART officials have called for emergency local, state and federal funding support as the transit agency hemorrhages money and ridership due to fears of spreading the novel coronavirus.

BART Board President Lateefah Simon and General Manager Bob Powers have lobbied officials for emergency funding, arguing that the agency is facing a monthly loss of $37 million in fare revenue at current ridership levels and an overall revenue loss of $55 million per month when accounting for a loss in economic activity.

Monday's BART ridership was down 70% compared to an average Monday in February, while the agency's preliminary data showed an 85% ridership drop on Tuesday.

"This is a financial crisis for BART," Simon said. "This level of catastrophic revenue loss is not sustainable and threatens future service. We need reassurance from all levels of government that transit will not be left out."

Agency officials have requested that funding subsidies for public transit systems be included in future stimulus bills as the federal government tries to keep the economy from collapsing. BART also plans to apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to shore up its revenue losses.

The agency is also requesting a $55 million allocation from the state's $500 million coronavirus response funding package and an operating subsidy from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

BART continues to run its standard service hours, with largely empty trains and station platforms, allowing riders to practice social distancing and refrain from potentially spreading coronavirus.

"As the backbone of transportation in the Bay Area, we will also play an essential role during the economic recovery process," Powers said. "Access to emergency funding is needed to keep the Bay Area moving once the region begins to recover."

No coronavirus cases had been confirmed on BART, as of press time Wednesday.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Mitchel
Highland Oaks
on Mar 18, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Mitchel, Highland Oaks
on Mar 18, 2020 at 4:27 pm
12 people like this

BART in financial trouble again? They are asking for $55 million to pay 1 month's losses (about 10% of the ENTIRE Corona-virus 19 budget in California). How about they all take a pay cut and reduce employee head count like I am doing for my employees.

Government agencies with their hands out while the rest of us lay off employees and go without.

It is probably too much to think they will tighten their Union contract purse strings to cover their losses. What are they going to do if they don't get the extra money? Go on strike?


sjd
Livermore
on Mar 18, 2020 at 5:50 pm
sjd, Livermore
on Mar 18, 2020 at 5:50 pm
2 people like this

They’re categorized as an essential service, they have already reduced service and commuter extras, and they can’t exactly reduce cleaning staff.


Jake Waters
Birdland
on Mar 18, 2020 at 8:40 pm
Jake Waters, Birdland
on Mar 18, 2020 at 8:40 pm
7 people like this

BART has always been a bottomless pit. Once they are subsidized for this they will be coming back for raises, pensions, and other increases by June. Sure would like to see what the $55 million pays for- line item by line item. Tired though of them repeating their go to phrase: It’s for your safety.


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