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BART to cut service, hike fares on failed Millbae extension

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  • 8/12 Contra Costa Times
    Published Friday, August 12, 2005, in the Contra Contra Times BART agrees to cut back SFO lines By Mike Adamick Contra Costa County BART riders headed to San
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 12, 2005
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      Published Friday, August 12, 2005, in the Contra Contra Times

      BART agrees to cut back SFO lines

      By Mike Adamick

      Contra Costa County BART riders headed to San Francisco International
      Airport will face longer waits and multiple train switches under a
      plan approved Thursday meant to save money for a transportation system
      across the Bay.

      The Dublin-Pleasanton line, or blue line, will offer the only airport
      link beginning Sept. 12, meaning riders on the Pittsburg-Bay Point and
      Richmond lines will have to switch trains.

      Instead of waiting between 7 and 8 minutes for trains, travelers will
      have to wait 15 minutes for an airport trip.

      The BART board approved the changes at the behest of San Mateo
      County's SamTrans agency, which said it could no longer afford to pay
      its share of BART operating costs because ridership remains low.

      Under a $1.5 billion deal to extend BART to the airport, SamTrans
      agreed to subsidize the costs for the life of the line because San
      Mateo County was not part of the original three-county core that has
      been paying taxes for decades to run BART.

      But ridership figures have never come close to original estimates,
      meaning SamTrans had to front more money to cover its share of the

      BART directors called on SamTrans to help boost ridership, possibly
      through long-term parking or clustering homes around stations.

      "Cutting service and building ridership don't go hand and hand," said
      BART board member Lynette Sweet.

      James Fang, another board member, said he's willing to help SamTrans
      this year but wanted the Peninsula transportation agency to find ways
      in the next year to raise more money.

      "I do not appreciate having a gun put to my head," Fang said.

      BART has claimed SamTrans is reneging on its promise to share costs
      and is spending more money to expand Caltrain service while cutting
      BART lines.

      SamTrans, meanwhile, has argued that BART is not doing enough to
      develop ridership and become more efficient to keep costs down.

      Christine Dunn, spokeswoman for SamTrans, said the agency paid $17
      million to BART last year but wants to lower that figure to $10
      million by next year and even lower in later years as ridership

      In another move Thursday, BART spelled out exactly when it will begin
      charging riders for parking at 10 East Bay stations, a move the
      transit district approved in May.

      Beginning in November, it will cost $1 to park at Lake Merritt and
      MacArthur stations, while West Oakland will cost $5 -- and possibly $6
      by next year.

      Then in December, $1 charges will take effect at Rockridge, Orinda,
      Lafayette and Walnut Creek stations, while $1 charges at North
      Berkeley, Ashby and Dublin-Pleasanton stations will begin in January
      or February.

      Mike Adamick covers transportation.
      Reach him at 925-945-4745 or at madamick@...
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