Board votes to spend surplus on riders, defers vote on fare rollback
Today the BART Board of Directors gave final approval to move forward with a plan to return millions of dollars in surplus revenues to riders in the form of cleaner train cars with fresh new seats, a delay to raising paratransit fares and the placement of real-time information displays at dozens of businesses around BART stations. BART's Board also finalized plans to use much of the $4.5 million in projected surplus revenues in this current budget year to improve BART police and emergency facilities, boost rainy-day reserves and look for ways to improve customer service.
However, the Board did put off a decision to use $2.3 million in other surplus revenues for a temporary fare rollback until a future meeting.
The action the Board took on July 22 will provide:
- $1 million for BART’s rainy-day reserves, bringing total reserves to $25 million
- $750,000 for replacement of seats and deep-cleaning of 50 rail cars
- $200,000 to defer an increase in East Bay paratransit fares for 4 months
- $150,000 for emergency operations and BART Police facilities
- $100,000 to improve station agent customer service
- $75,000 for real-time information monitors to be installed at locations near BART stations
- $62,000 to convert four part-time utility workers to full-time
"These customer appreciation efforts are not only a token of our enormous respect to the sacrifices our riders have made," BART Board President James Fang said. "They are also a living symbol of this Board's prudent fiscal responsibility, which has given BART the ability to provide these appreciation efforts in the first place. We wish all of our customers the very best!"
BART projected a $4.5 million funding surplus for Fiscal Year 2011 - the current budget year - after a court order required the state to return State Transit Assistance money to transit agencies like BART. In June, the Board began considering how to use the surplus – proposing to spend about half on customer service improvements and about another half, or $2.3 million, for a short-term fare reduction. The two fare reduction options that have been under consideration are cutting fares by 3% for four months or by 5% for three months.