BART Board to discuss how to spend $4.5M surplus

May 27, 2010 7:23:55 AM PDT
If you ride BART, would you prefer cleaner trains, or a fare reduction -- or how about a free ride? Those are some of the options BART is considering now that they have a multi-million dollar budget surplus.

BART wants to use this rare surplus as an opportunity to give back to riders and make the journey a better experience. The transit agency's board meets Thursday to discuss options for spending a $4.5 million budget surplus for the upcoming year.

What was going to be a shortfall turned into this surplus because of an unexpected $26 million in funding from the state this year.

BART says one idea is to spend the budget surplus on a "mint car program," which would replace dirty seat covers and scrub the interiors of up to a third of its 600-plus fleet of train cars.

A clean-up is highly-welcomed:

"I do think they need to clean BART's trains and around the stations and things of that sort because, you know, a lot of passengers do ride it every day, and you can smell the smell of feces and urine and things of sort," said BART passenger Dan Warren.

"It's just getting dingy, and they just should clean it so that the passengers have better riding experiences," said BART passenger Rochelle Samson.

Some other spending options include:

  • Free fares on up to four morning commute days next year.
  • A temporary rollback of recent fare increases, or half-priced rides on Sundays, for up to 10-months.

The transit agency could decide to approve a combination package of these proposals, or even choose to save those surplus funds for a rainy day. BART's board of directors expects to make a final decision on June 10th.


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