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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART to drop trains, hike fares, charge reserved parking fees to close budget gap


Bay Area Rapid Transit’s board July 3 adopted a balanced budget for fiscal-year 2003 — which began July 1 — but it comes with some bitter pills for passengers to swallow, including service reductions, fare increases and charges for reserved parking.

After cutting $38.6 million in expenses from a projected $59.7 million shortfall earlier this year, BART still came up $21.1 million short. So the board approved a combination of revenue enhancements, and the use of some reserve and capital funds to close the gap.

Beginning July 22, BART’s 700 daily trains will be reduced by 13. Pittsburg-Bay Point/Colma Line will lose one early morning and two afternoon trains; Fremont/Daily City Line, three evening round trips; and Richmond/Colma Line, two evening round trips. Officials plan to add cars to selected trains to help alleviate any crowding the changes might cause.

To add revenue, BART officials plan in mid-December to charge for reserved parking for up to a quarter of its 40,000 parking spaces. The spaces (those closest to the station entrance) would be available for $63 per month; after 10 a.m., they would revert to free open status.

Meanwhile, officials also plan to increase fares 5 percent beginning in January 2003. This would be the first fare hike in about six years, representing about one-fourth the inflation rate for the same time period, according to a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/12/2002