BART, Muni to receive millions to prevent service cuts
Amid rising operation costs and growing deficits, BART and Muni service cuts were looming…until recently. The 2023/2024 California Budget includes a billion-dollar transit bailout. An overwhelming three quarters of that funding will go to Bay Area transit agencies. But the money comes with contingencies. In order to receive those local and regional subsidies, the agencies will have to clamp down on fare evasion.
The funds — which will be distributed through 2026 — will delay BART and Muni service cuts. Distribution amounts are based on ridership, so BART will receive $352 million dollars and the SFMTA, $309 million dollars.
BART will receive the funding – if they meet their goal of updating all their fare gates with something they call, “hardened replacements.” BART says these new gates will be harder to push through or jump over.
BART’s station hardening is a part of the $90-million dollar “Next Generation Fare Project.” The agency hopes the pricey undertaking will cut down on the$25 million dollars-a-year lost because of fare evasion.
You can find prototypes of these hardened fare gates at the Rockridge Station. SFMTA’s Muni will also have to figure out how to tackle fare evasion. They’re expected to produce a report on their plans.
With the bailout, Bay Area transit operations should be able to delay proposed service cuts – at least for the next two years.