BART officials approve fare hike


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With a unanimous vote by BART's board of directors, the cost of getting around the Bay area is about to get more expensive. Beginning July 1, /*BART*/ fares will increase by 6.1 percent. The lowest $1.50 ticket will jump by 25 cents. The biggest increase goes to rides to San Francisco International Airport.

There also will be a new $1 parking fee at many stations, making Oakland Coliseum, Hayward, and North Concord, the only stations where parking is free.

"And I imagine reducing service as well?," wondered BART rider Deidre Wan, who like other riders, says they're already feeling the pinch. "And now BART wants to raise their fares, so that's going to increase drivers, so it's a no-win situation."

Some examples of how the new increases add up:

-- A ride from the Pittsburg/Baypoint Station to SFO jumps from $8 to $10.90.

-- A trip from downtown San Francisco to the airport goes from $5.35 to $8.10.

-- Richmond to Lake Merritt increases from $2.45 to $2.60.

It's not just the passengers who will have to give. BART's also asking workers to give back in the form of 100 job cuts.

"We're really looking towards our employees and other cost cuts to get rid of that $250 million deficit," said BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.

Contract negotiations with labor unions are ongoing. Union president Jesse Hunt represents train operators and station managers and says BART needs to rethink its priorities.

"When management's asking for concessions from the union workers, yeah, we think they should look first at their priorities," said Hunt.

General Manager Dorothy Dugger is BART's highest paid employee at $334,000 a year in salary and bonuses. So far, no effort by the board to reduce her, or any other executive's salaries.

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