In response to record ridership, the BART Board of Directors on Thursday approved a budget that provides for longer trains, additional train trips and the hiring of dozens of new staff members to better address cleanliness on the system and issues that cause delays.
The budget will put 30 more train cars in service during peak hours and add 16 train trips each weekday, the transit agency said. It assumes riders will be paying an inflation-based fare increase of 3.4-percent starting in January (more about the fare increase here.)
Each line will see service improvements. The Orange line from Richmond to Fremont will see length of trains increase from three to four. The Red line from Millbrae to Richmond will run one hour later on weeknights, with the last train departing Millbrae at 9 p.m.
Train lengths will also increase for the Blue line (Dublin-Pleasanton to Daly City), Yellow line (Pittsburg/Bay Point to SFO) and Green line (Fremont to Daly City).
To increase on-time performance, the budget adds two train control technicians to more swiftly address train control failures, which account for nearly a fifth of late trains, BART said. Also, the system will have paramedics on hand during the busiest hours in and near the Transbay Tube to more swiftly respond to medical emergencies. Six more engineers will be hired to improve car reliability.
The budget additionally includes 35 new members to BART’s cleaning crew. Four BART police officers will be hired to assist mental health individuals in downtown San Francisco stations.
BART call the measures creative ways to address overcrowding and delays while its “Fleet of the Future” train cars are phased in over the next few years.
“We need to be creative in finding ways to meet our customers’ needs now,” BART Board of Directors President Tom Blalock said in a statement. “This budget does that. With these new investments, we’ll squeeze more capacity out of our existing rail cars, tackle some of our recurring reliability issues and even invest in keeping trains and stations cleaner.”
BART’s budget for next fiscal year is $1.57 billion budget (operating and capital). The agency assumes ridership next fiscal year will increase by 1.8-percent, from an average of 422,162 weekday trips to 429,695.