Spendthrift BART directors vote to raise fares

As I feared and warned about just two weeks ago, BART’s profligate board of directors just voted to raise fares six months earlier than planned, citing budget deficits. See, it’s okay to waste money, because you can always get transit-dependent citizens (along with BART employees) to pay for it. Never mind that those citizens are also suffering in this lousy economy, and that the reason many of them use public transportation is because they can’t afford to own cars, and that for environmental reasons we should be doing everything we can encourage, not discourage, use of public transit. Here is CBS5’s early story on the vote:

Bay Area Rapid Transit riders can expect to start paying more to ride and park this summer as the transit agency tries to close a $250 million deficit projected over the next four years.

BART directors voted Thursday to adopt three fare hikes that will go into effect on July 1.

At the end of a lengthy discussion, BART directors voted to raise basic train fares by 6.1 percent and to add 25 cents to the minimum fare for short trips. They also voted to charge an extra $2 surcharge for all trips to the San Francisco International Airport.

The 25-cent increase in the minimum fare will increase the base fare from $1.50 to $1.75.

BART directors also voted to begin charging a $1 parking fee at eight additional stations. Parking fees are already in place at some BART stations.

BART had not been slated to increase its fares until Jan. 1, but directors voted to move up the fare increases by six months because of BART’s large budget deficit.

Union contracts expire on June 30 and BART is also likely to ask for significant concessions from employees to help make up for the budget shortfall.

I haven’t heard yet whether Lynette Sweet, the BART director who recently said that raising fares to SFO would be “hard to swallow” and a “hardship,” voted for the fare hike.

It was pretty clear that something like this was coming, but I thought that the BART directors would wait a while, for fear that it would appear unseemly to raise fares two weeks after deciding to waste half a billion dollars on a train-in-the-sky to Oakland Airport. Apparently they had no such qualms, however.

4 Responses to “Spendthrift BART directors vote to raise fares”

  1. ruth gutmann says:

    What to do when you live in a state where the governor either lacks the courage or the conviction to raise taxes to get out of the deficit hole the state has dug for itself? A decision to raise fares for public transport is a branch off the same tree. Schwarzenegger today proposed cutting the welfare to work program — again hitting those who can least afford it — This is said to save roughly 1 billion but would probably cost the state far more as a result of the hardship created by yanking this safety blanket from under people. Schwarzenegger threatened that not cutting this program will land California even deeper in debt. He reiterated that he is against raising taxes. (But he went to D.C. asking for a bailout which was politely refused)

  2. eric says:

    That’s ridiculous.

  3. wordnerd says:

    Here in liberal Massachusetts, they raised the T fare from $1.25 to $1.70 (or $2) without substantial protest, while any talk of raising highway tolls is treated as a looming catastrophe.

  4. dc says:

    93% of Americans believe that free automobile use is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

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