SF Rates going up
Fare to go from $1.50 to 1.75 to ride the Trolley Bus. Lynx charges $2?
BART fares are going up 6.1 percent on July 1, with an additional 25 cent increase for short trips and a $2.50 increase for rides to San Francisco International Airport, the agency’s board decided Thursday.
Adding to the pain for BART riders, the board also agreed to start charging a $1 parking fee at eight more stations, including Pleasant Hill, Concord, Pittsburg-Bay Point, Richmond, El Cerrito Del Norte, San Leandro, Bayfair and South Hayward. The fees will be phased in later this year as collection equipment is added.
Under the new fares, a ride from Concord to Embarcadero stations will rise from $4.95 to $5.30. A trip from the Pittsburg-Bay Point station to San Francisco International Airport will increase from $8 to $10.90
BART board members acknowledged the increase will present a hardship to many riders in hard times. But board members said they are forced to raise fares six months earlier and by more than previously planned because of declining sales tax and slashes in state transit funding. Unless it acts, the transit district faces a projected deficit of $250 million over the next four years, officials said.
“We are heading toward an iceberg,” BART director Joel Keller said in a description that could apply to many public transit providers raising fares and cutting service this year.
Next month, the BART board will consider paring back weeknight and Saturday service to trains every 20 minutes, instead of the current 15 minute time between trains.
“A lot of people are hurting, but we have a fiduciary responsibility to move forward,” Keller said. “We should send a message that this board is going to fix the problem despite the state taking away money from us.”
Before the recession deepened this year, BART had planned to raise rates 6.1 percent on Jan. 1 in keeping with a board policy to raise rates every other year by an amount tied to inflation.
On Thursday, the board voted unanimously to move that increase up to July 1, and increase trips to and from San Francisco airport by $2.50.
The board also voted 8-1 to add an extra 25 cents to tickets for trips six miles or less. Director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco voted no, saying the change could harm low-income riders who travel short distances.
Board members said the steep increase for trips to the airport would spare everyday BART commuters from the most severe pain of the fare increase.
“We have to look at the 97 percent of our riders (who don’t ride to the airport),” said James Fang, a BART board member from San Francisco. Many airport users are tourists and business people from out of town, he said.
Julia Bates, a security screener at SFO, said higher fares would cause a hardship for her and others who ride BART daily to their airport jobs.
“I ask you to reconsider,” Bates said. She estimated that her BART ticket and parking costs to travel from Oakland to SFO would increase to a total of $336 a month from $272.
The transit board directed its management to meet and negotiate with SFO management on possible ways to get relief for airport workers.