BART Trims the Fat Without Starving Riders

Agency says it won't raise fares to cut costs

For once BART riders' wallets can breathe a sigh of relief. A looming budget deficit is not going to bleed a hole through your shiny leather money carrier.

BART officials announced Monday they do not plan to  raise fares or make service cuts to help balance its budget.

So how is BART going to close a $14 million gap projection without turning off trains or increasing its ticket meters' appetites? By magical math.

BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said the agency has recalculated its projected budget deficit for the  fiscal year and reduced its calculations by $4 million.

The mathematical rule behind the transit agency's number crunching game was partly driven by the $26  million the agency will receive through legislation signed by Gov.  Schwarzenegger that restored some public transit funding after a two-year  drought in state funding.

So some of the money will still come out of commuters' pockets  but not directly. The agency said it also plans to further close the deficit by cutting expenses and deleting 37 operating positions.

But 20 of those jobs will be moved to another area of BART funded through the agency's capital budget and nine of the other positions are currently empty.

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