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SamTrans plan to hike SMCo.-SFO BART fares $1 advances

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  • 7/21 Redwood City Daily
    Published Thursday, July 21, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News Plan to cut BART service advances By Sara Gaiser Daily News Staff Writer Transit officials
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2005
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      Published Thursday, July 21, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News

      Plan to cut BART service advances

      By Sara Gaiser
      Daily News Staff Writer

      Transit officials began moving forward yesterday with a push to cut
      service and raise fares on BART's airport extension line, citing a
      need to bring costs under control.

      The San Mateo County Transit District board yesterday set a public
      hearing date of Aug. 10 for the proposed changes, which will
      eliminate an existing $1 subsidy on fares for trips within the
      county currently paid by the district and suspend weekend service to
      the San Bruno and South San Francisco BART stations. The changes, if
      approved, would take effect Sept. 12.

      [BATN: See:
      http://www.samtrans.org/pdf/BOD_Agenda_Reports/7_20_05/Public%20Hearing.pdf ]

      In addition, Samtrans is asking BART to run shorter trains on the
      extension, which has struggled to meet ridership and revenue
      projections since its opening in June 2003.

      Samtrans, which subsidizes the line's operating costs, under an
      agreement with BART, paid around $18 million for the line in the
      last fiscal year. However, the transit district, which is struggling
      with an ongoing structural budget deficit caused in part by BART and
      Caltrain-related costs, has declared it will not pay more than $10
      million in the coming year, $5 million in the year after that and
      nothing by 2007.

      "It is absolutely critical that we stay within the $10 million cap
      this board adopted for the BART subsidy if we are going to deal with
      this structural problem," Samtrans General Manager Mike Scanlon said
      yesterday.

      The proposed changes are expected to reduce the subsidy by around
      $2.1 million annually.

      Also as part of its efforts to ease the agency's budget problems,
      Samtrans officials yesterday moved to refinance $326 million in
      outstanding bonds, a move that is expected to save around $10
      million a year.

      The district, which expected to use nearly $5 million in reserves to
      balance its operating budget earlier this year, now expects to use
      only around $1.3 million due to budget changes including a fare
      increase effective Sept. 1, new state funding and increased sales
      tax revenue. The district has also budgeted around $1 million to pay
      for a collective bargaining agreement with the Amalgamated Transit
      Union Local 1574, but union members recently vetoed a contract
      proposal and it is not clear when they will vote on another.
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