SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Despite packed trains, BART ridership is down. And commuters could end up paying the price.
On some mornings, people can hardly move in the packed BART trains. It’s uncomfortable, sweaty and smelly.READ MORE: SF Restaurant Apologizes for Denying Service to Armed, On-Duty Police Officers
But BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said, “It may sound crazy for our riders to hear ridership is down. It’s because it’s down during those times that there is capacity.”
BART says transbay ridership during the morning and evening commutes remains up, but they’re seeing drops outside of those hours.
On weekends, ridership is down 9 percent, according to BART officials.
Sales tax and state money are also coming in at lower amounts then previously projected.
So BART is now looking at a $15 to $25 million shortfall for this fiscal year and $25 million to $35 million for the next.
Already, the transit agency has stopped hiring new people and required departments to cut back, but still not enough.READ MORE: International Travelers Brace For New COVID Testing Requirement
Now the board of directors has to consider increasing the base fare and reducing the discounts given to seniors and youths.
They also are looking into opening their system later, at 5 a.m., instead of 4 a.m. and possibly reducing service along the Fremont and Richmond lines.
BART rider Amy Nabong said, “I take BART every day. Do a solid for Mother Earth, but they don’t make it very easy.”
Another BART rider, Dana said, “It’s more frustration. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s 11.”
State Senator Steve Glazer blames BART’s high salaries and benefits for the budget deficit.
He says when you have high labor costs and revenue projections don’t pan out, you’re in financial trouble.MORE NEWS: Northbound San Tomas Expressway in Santa Clara Closed by 'Major Injury' Accident
Glazer said, “We have the highest paid transportation workforce in America. They’ve given 30 percent raises in the last two contracts and to their highest paid managers.”