BART discusses lean $915 million budget for upcoming year amid low ridership due to COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Is BART running out of money? Because of the lockdown's impact on ridership, the agency says it's had a rough time scraping up enough money for this fiscal year. Now it's trying to get back in the black.

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The Board of Directors had a budget meeting Thursday morning. Shape what we can change and monitor what we cannot -- that's sort of the approach the BART board is taking as they move through these uncertain times.

Ridership for the month of May is only at 7% this May of what it was last May.

Fares usually account for nearly half of BART's budget, but with ridership critically low, the BART board is now looking at a lean $950 million for the upcoming year.

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A third of that budget would come from one-time money like federal emergency funds.

During Thursday's board meeting, directors went over the 15-step plan the transit agency just rolled out to get commuters back as the shelter-in-place is being lifted. It covers everything from additional cleaning to running longer trains to allow for more social distancing to even rearranging seats.

The board is considering a number of options that will allow for a scaling up or down.

The board will begin meeting early next week to vote on that budget.

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If there's any light at the end of tunnel right now, it's that BART reports ridership number show that for every week so far in the month of May, ridership has gone up.

But that is all relative - only 33,000 people took BART on Wednesday.

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