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Friday, June 11, 2010

Party Time on BART! Cheaper Fares, Cleaner Cars in July

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge We're rich! But only in July
  • We're rich! But only in July

BART is magic: just a year after threatening to throw the Bay Area into transit gridlock with a workers' strike, the transit agency is thinking up ways to share an unexpected shower of riches with the huddled masses crammed onto trains, also known as customers.

That's right: BART has a budget surplus on which it will splurge. Come July 1, BART has an extra $4.5 million to spend on espresso bars in every train, magic fingers seats, and taser-proof fare cards (too soon?). BART will in fact provide none of these, but does have some pleasant surprises in store for riders due next month.

BART has a surplus this year thanks to a $26 million cash injection from the state (and all this time you thought California was broke! Well, it is, but it has money for BART). That money was dedicated for construction, but BART didn't spend it all. After passing its $582.1 million budget, the BART Board of Directors elected to divvy up the $4.5 million as follows:

  • $2.3 million would go to reduce fares by 3% fare reduction over four months, "pending

    outcome of a series of public meetings to gather feedback on that option" (riders, hold out for the espresso machines);

  • $1 million would be squirreled away, added to BART's rainy-day reserves, bring total reserves to $25 million;

  • $750,000 would pay to "deep-clean" of 50 of BART's 669 rail cars and install "fresh, new


  • $200,000 would defer an increase in East Bay paratransit fares for four months;

  • $150,000 would go towards an emergency operations facility.

On top of that, the BART board voted to spend $75,000 on "real-time train departure monitors"  (you know, kind of like what you have on your iPhone) at some of its stations; it's not yet sure which ones.

BART bathrooms, however, will remain shuttered. So hold it, hold it, hold it -- this train will be moving along shortly...

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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