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10/27/2020



Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART outlines budget crisis response plan


The 7-point plan includes steps BART will take to maximize efficiency and find savings.
Photo – BART Facebook

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Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco last week unveiled its seven-point plan to reduce costs annually to address anticipated short-term and long-term operating budget deficits created by reduced ridership and revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of mid-October, BART ridership hovered at 13% of pre-COVID levels. It might not exceed 40% by the end of fiscal-year 2021, agency officials said in a press release. About 70% of BART’s operating revenue comes from fares. Its current fiscal year funding gap is $33 million, BART officials said in a press release.

The seven-point plan calls for BART to:

  • pursue efficiencies around contracting and other reductions to BART’s non-labor budget;
  • continue a hiring freeze and eliminate most current vacancies;
  • seek board approval to negotiate a retirement incentive program with union leadership;
  • reassign or retrain staff wherever possible to fill gaps created by vacant positions;
  • assign service dependent staff to capital projects to accelerate capital program delivery; and
  • explore additional cost savings with labor partners and non-represented employees.

"The savings from the seven-point plan will help us close the current year gap and become leaner in future years, but we must have contingency plans in case there is no more help from the federal government or other emergency aid," BART officials said.

BART staff will calculate savings achieved under the plan and various service scenarios, and present an update to BART’s board on Nov. 19. After that, staff will review a preferred service plan that would take effect in February 2021.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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