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BART And Caltrain In Financial Trouble Due To Low Ridership

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Caltrain, Mountain View

Transportation authorities in the Bay Area have been facing low ridership and higher cleaning costs since the pandemic began. 

But this week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors chose not to introduce a tax measure that could help Caltrain stay afloat. 


Since shelter in place began, Caltrain has reported a 97% decrease in ridership which has left a massive gap in their budget. But on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors decided not to take up a ballot measure designed to keep Caltrain running. If approved, the measure would have introduced a 1/8-cent sales tax which could have generated upwards of a $100 million a year. The measure needed approval from four transit boards and Boards of Supervisors in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties to make it onto ballots in November.

BART is also facing a similar COVID-induced cash crunch. The transportation system received about $250 million from the first federal CARES act bailout and $125 million more has been allocated by the regional Metropolitan Transit Commission. But BART General Manager Bob Powers says more assistance is needed to make up for roughly $975 million in lost revenue over the next three years.