Get Ready for Lighter Wallets, Bay Area Commuters

Transit agency rate hikes coming Wednesday

If you are lucky enough to be employed and taking public transportation to work, consider looking for a second job.

The cost to ride BART, Muni, AC Transit and just about everything else that requires a fare in the Bay Area is going up on Wednesday. And the recession is getting the blame.

While the economy continues to hibernate south of the equator, public transit agencies everywhere are looking at your wallet as a new way to generate revenue.

"If it wasn't for the worst economic downturn in a generation, we wouldn't be facing these sorts of increases," Muni spokesman Judson True told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bay Area transit agencies are blaming falling tax revenues and funding cuts for their budget shortfalls and commuters are being forced to make up the difference for BART, Muni, AC Transit, the Golden Gate Ferry. So much for ditching your car to save $12,131 in the city.

Even San Francisco taxis drivers are facing higher fees come Wednesday, which could eventually be passed on to passengers. Don't think the economy forgot about San Francisco drivers either. Parking fees and fines are also going up across the city.

BART fares will jump more than 6 percent across the board and the agency will charge a $4 surcharge, instead of the current $1.50, to all trains to or from the San Francisco International Airport.

An adult fare on both Muni and AC Transit, which serves Western Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, will both spike to $2. Muni currently charges $1.50 while an AC Transit adult ticket goes for $1.75.

Despite the fare hikes, agencies say they are still dealing with budget shortfalls. BART alone says the fare hikes alone will not close a $22 million funding gap.

In September the railway service will return to operating trains every 20 minutes on evening and weekends instead of every 15 minutes.

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