BART Board elects James Fang as new president


BART Board elects James Fang as new president

The BART Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously elected its longest-serving board member, James Fang, to serve as its new president.  The Board also unanimously elected Board Member Bob Franklin to serve as vice president.

Both assumed their respective posts after the Board of Directors cast their votes during Thursday's meeting at BART Headquarters in Oakland.   The nine-member BART Board is made up of three elected directors from each of the BART District’s three counties; San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa. Every year in December, the board members choose their president and vice president. Historically, the board member who assumes the president and vice president posts will be from a different county than the board member who previously held each post.

After his election, Fang delivered a speech in which he first thanked outgoing president Thomas Blalock for his leadership during the triumphs and tribulations of 2009, including the New Year’s Day police shooting, union contract negotiations and the approval of three significant new expansion projects, which are the Warm Springs extension, eBART and the Oakland Airport Connector.

"I want to express my heartfelt appreciation at the quiet but very deft leadership of my very good friend Tom Blalock," Fang said.  "He has taken everything that has been thrown at us this year with a kind of stoic poise that we expect and demand from our president." Fang then said he would use his presidency to create special committees to tackle problems and issues that interest board members.  He then encouraged his fellow board members to "spend and sacrifice" their time and energy to these committees in order to start "formulating solutions to these problems."
For example, Fang said that he personally would sacrifice his time to work more on making BART the first transit agency in the country to allow all of its customers to pay for their fares with their mobile phone.  In 2008, BART helped launch a first-in-the-nation technological trial that allowed a small group of riders to walk up to any BART faregate with a specially-equipped Sprint wireless phone and pay for their ride by tagging their phone on a reader located on top of the gate.  "This is the wave of the future," Fang said. "This would really be a growth area for BART, so I would like to start a committee just to deal with that."

James Fang is the longest serving director on the BART Board.  He represents the 8th BART District, which includes portions San Francisco. Voters first elected him to the BART Board in November 1990. Today’s decision marks his third time serving as president. He previously held the position of president in 1998 and in 2004.  He’s served as vice president in 1997, 2003 and 2008. Fang is a native and life-long San Franciscan who attended public schools in the city before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley and attending Hastings College of Law. Fang is the President of Asian Week, the largest circulation Asian-American publication in the United States. He is married and lives in San Francisco. Learn more about Fang by visiting the Board of Directors section.

This is BART Board Member Bob Franklin’s first time serving as vice president. Voters first elected him to the Board on November 2, 2004.  Franklin represents BART District 3, which covers Kensington, Piedmont, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and portions of Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Castro Valley. During his tenure on the Board, Franklin has chaired the Sustainability/Green Committee and has been a member of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Liaison Committee, the AC Transit Liaison Committee and the Administration Committee. At Thursday's meeting, Franklin pledged to enrich the customer experience by asking employees to come up with the "best ways to improve their jobs and improve service for the customers," he said.  "It’s been a tough year for BART, but we’re a safe transit system that is 95% on-time and we must return the focus to what we do best." 
Learn more about Franklin by visiting the Board of Directors section.