Proposed budget focuses on passenger capacity & on-time performance
BART Preliminary Budget for the next fiscal year, presented to the Board of Directors tonight, pumps money into efforts to increase passenger capacity, improve on-time performance and to address concerns raised by customers in the latest customer satisfaction survey.
“We know our riders are feeling more cramped than ever before and that keeping trains on-time is one of their top priorities,” said BART Board President Tom Blalock. “Hope is on the horizon with the new Fleet of the Future rail cars that will begin going into service in late 2017, but until then, BART staff is proposing a number of projects to get the most out of our current fleet for our customers. It’s like playing chess – strategically moving the available pieces for the maximum benefit.”
The budget proposes changes that are designed to produce 30 more train cars in service during peak periods and to add 16 train trips each weekday. This would be accomplished in several ways:
• Adding 10 train trips to the Yellow Line, BART’s busiest.
• Adding six train trips to the Red Line.
• Increasing the minimum length of trains on the Orange Line from three to four, marking the end of three-car trains anywhere on the BART system.
• Move train cars from maintenance to passenger service at a faster pace (BART already boasts one of the industry’s highest rates of cars availability).
• Adding shifts for train car maintenance workers.
• Repair and put back into service four to six badly damaged cars.
The budget also includes money to boost on time performance by:
• Adding two Train Control Technicians to quickly fix train control failures that currently account for almost one fifth of the late trains. The new technicians are expected to improve response time by 15%.
• Extend the hours for the stand-by paramedics to respond more quickly to medical emergencies in and near the Transbay Tube. The paramedics would work from 6 to 10 am and 3 to 8 pm, BART’s busiest times.
• Add seven grounds workers to keep the right of way clear of obstructions such as branches and other vegetation.
• Six more rail vehicle engineers to improve car reliability.
On-time performance was one of the major concerns highlighted by the Customer Satisfaction Survey; car and station cleanliness were also issues. The proposed budget tackles these concerns too:
• 21 more station cleaning staff to clean and scrub stations more frequently.
• 13 more train cleaning staff to clean floors and disinfect seats.
• Four new BART Police staff members for downtown San Francisco and to support the Crisis Intervention Team, which seeks to assist and support individuals with mental health issues.
• Increased pigeon abatement.
These initiatives address challenges that are partly a result of BART’s skyrocketing ridership (up almost 25% in the past five years). Other aspects of the budget focus on reinvesting in a system that’s 42 years old.
The proposed budget adds $51M compared to last fiscal year to repair tracks, stations and other critical assets. The budget also continues the investment in BART’s “Big 3” capital projects: the new 775-car Fleet of the Future, the Hayward Maintenance Complex (to service the new fleet and Silicon Valley Extension) and the Train Control Modernization Program (to increase the frequency of trains).
Tonight’s staff presentation to the Board is one in a series of steps before the Board votes on the budget. The Board set an official public hearing on the budget for 5 pm, May 28th. The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget on June 11.
The Fiscal Year 2016 Preliminary Budget Memo provides a detailed look at the budget.
The budget assumes revenue from a January 1, 2016 inflation based, 3.4% fare increase to help fund the system's extensive capital needs as called for in BART's multi-year Inflation Based Fare Increase Program. This money is dedicated to our highest priority capital needs including new rail cars, an automated train control system, and an expanded maintenance facility. BART is currently seeking input on this planned increase. Find out more information and take the survey on the Title VI page.