BART expects $28 million surplus next year

Anonymous's picture

What to do with this extra cash? If Governor Jerry Brown's $611 million budget is approved, BART officials are proposing to spend it on new seat covers and cushions, cleaning up silver cars, improving escalators, upgrading the system's rail to make the trains quieter and possibly run trains late at night. The surplus is the result of an increase in the number of riders, sales tax revenue and a hiring freeze a few years ago. The next BART fair increase isn't scheduled until July 2012. If the surplus ends up being less than the projection, the projects will be completed according to priority.  



Alyssa Sittig's picture

BART Should Think Long-Term

If I were the head honcho of BART, I would be most concerned with thinking about the long-term. We should be investing in newer technologies, greener alternative materials and smarter ways to protect passengers. And what about saving and using the money to combat future fare hikes? I'd rather pay $3.65 to get from Berkeley to Downtown SF on a slightly loud and rough train than $5 to be even more able to sleep on BART than I already am. I am a student on a budget - but shouldn't the goal of public transportation be greater accessibility for all?
harris2's picture

Surplus is Supposed to be good for BART & San Francisco

BART supposedly offers the best fare for travel in and out of San Francisco, and a surplus for BART is supposed to bring about the best changes for the passengers and commuters of BART and SF. But using a surplus to remove loud trains for the betterment of public transportation seems wasteful to San Francisco commuters. Public transportation can be improved, but low ticket fares and timely public transit personifies a successful transit system. And a surplus for BART should aim to do just that: keep ticket fares low and public transportation timely. BART should be comfortable, but it seems obvious that most SF commuters would trade quieter public transportation for what BART stands for: Bay Area Rapid Transit.
gcotter's picture

future infrastructure

There really is no such thing as a "surplus."  Maybe there is money that hasn't been spent but that's only because various infrastructure and maintenance projects have been delayed.  Instead of "enhancing" Bart with quieter cars, the money should go toward replacing the fabric seats and carpeting with more maintenance free alternatives.  

You can have low maintenance plastic seats that are cushioned but less damaged by spills of food and bodily fluids.  Carpet floors can be replaced with rubberized non-slip flooring that is easy to clean.

Some trains should be longer but the stations are too short to handle the longer trains.  If stations cannot be enlarged then the last x number of cars should be modified to leave the doors closed when at the shorter stations.

More cars should be purchased so that cars can be efficiently rotated out of service for maintenance.

The "surplus" funds are not "surplus" - they are the result of deferred maintenance and deferred acquisition.  Take care of the basics before spending on the nice-to-haves.

Phil Ting's picture

Investing for our Future

gcotter is absolutely right.  Deferred manintenance is how we have been maintaining fares or balancing budgets.  We all know fixing something minor is significantly cheaper than having to replace something after its broken.  Let's hope BART will spend the money on much needed maintenance to ensure those cars, tracks and stations will be good for the long term.

Patrick Stelmach's picture

Make BART More Accessible for Bicyclists

Being an urban bicyclist AND a public transit rider is tough. Often times there is little or no bicycle parking in nor around BART stations. Fortunately, places like Downtown Berkeley have bike stations where you can leave your bicycle in a safe, protected area watched over by an attendant. However, bicycle/BART riders at most stations are not so fortunate. Some of BART's regulations regarding bicycles make sense, e.g. no bikes on escalators and on trains during rush hour, but with no designated bike parking places, riders are forced to secure their bicycles to lamp posts, fences, etc. and hope their ride is still there after work. Even during non-rush hour times, there is so little space for bicyclists on BART trains that it's (sometimes) unfeasible to use both alternative modes of transportation. If San Francisco is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making it easier to do without a car, BART should use some of the surplus to make stations and trains more bicyclist friendly.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137