BART Approves Fare Hikes

Board approves new budget

BART directors voted Thursday to adopt a $642 million budget for fiscal 2010 that cuts expenses and raises revenues but still leaves a $22 million deficit.

The budget also means riders will be paying more starting July 1. So, the minimum cost of a BART ride will go up 25 cents, to $1.75. Surcharges for trips to and from SFO will go up from $1.50 to $4.

Directors said the budget reflects the realities of running a transit agency in an economy where ridership and sales tax revenues are dropping and health care and benefit costs are rising.

General Manager Dorothy Dugger said the budget is only an interim budget and will be updated after negotiations with BART's five labor unions have been completed.

The current contract for union employees expires on June 30.

Union leaders said on Wednesday that they want Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a cooling off period to allow negotiations to  continue for up to 60 more days because they think talks are moving too slowly.

But eight of the nine BART directors sent a letter to Schwarzenegger asking him not to declare a cooling off period because they want talks to conclude by the end of the month.

In a statement, Dugger said, "Hopefully, the new labor contracts will allow us to balanced expenses with revenues. Labor and benefit costs constitute about 73 percent of the base operating expense budget."

She said if long-term changes to wage and benefit levels aren't addressed during labor negotiations, "Additional cost savings through actions such as service cuts and staff reductions will be necessary to address the  expense growth and structural imbalance between revenues and expenses."

Bay City News

Contact Us