Public transit fare increases take effect

June 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wednesday is the start of a new fiscal year for many Bay Area transit agencies. And that means it is the day fares go up. In the case of Bay Area Rapid Transit, the increases come amidst difficult labor negotiations.

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BART, San Francisco's Muni, the Golden Gate Bridge District's ferries and buses and AC Transit all have fare increases that go into effect Wednesday.

The American Public Transportation Association says they are not alone. The vast majority of the nation's transit agencies have had to increase fares, cut service or both to deal with funding losses in the bad economy.

"The governor has taken away so much money that in order to keep up with revenues we have to raise fares," BART spokesperson Linton Johnson said.

"Heading into the fiscal year that starts Wednesday we're facing a $129 million deficit which is an unprecedented deficit in MTA's history," Muni spokesperson Judson True said.

Muni's basic adult fare GOES up by 50 cents to $2. The monthly adult pass jumps $10, from $45 to $55 dollars.

"You know it makes more of an impact on the poor," Muni rider Eileen Whelpley said.

Muni says service cuts and reductions are also on the way, but not until October.

AC Transit's basic adult fare goes up by 25 cents to $2 and discount fares will go up by 15 cents to $1.

Golden Gate buses and ferries go up by 5 percent across the board. So a trip from Novato to San Francisco will go up 30 cents, to $5.85.

BART's base fare of a $1.50 goes up to a $1.75 with a 6.1 percent across the board increase. The exception is that the SFO surcharge goes from the current $1.50 to $4.

"I find it hard to believe that there isn't another way to raise money than this," BART rider Louis Libert said.

BART and its labor unions are currently in a standoff over a new contract, with a strike as a possible result.

"It's going to really drive me crazy if they go on strike because then it's like an hour bus ride," BART rider Susie McAllister said.

The earliest possible date for a BART strike is July 13.

LINK: Bay Area public transportation information

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