Tell BART Board not to push costs of Oakland Airport Connector onto everyday riders

Joël Ramos Headshot

BART's Oakland Airport Connector will open in 2015

When the BART Board votes on what the fares should be for the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), TransForm wants to make sure the Board hears loud and clear that they should charge higher-income OAC riders a fare that would be financially responsible and fair for the diverse spectrum of all BART riders.
 
It comes down to this: 99% of BART riders should not be burdened with paying for a project that only 1% of BART riders use and benefit from.  
 
We recently wrote that BART must take aggressive steps now to reduce the losses of the OAC and make sure that everyday riders aren’t being unfairly penalized for this costly project. The good news is that it appears several BART Directors are getting behind this position. At their last two Board meetings, several board members spoke about the importance of making sure everyday riders don’t have to pay the high costs of the OAC project.  
 
We recognize that some Board members are concerned that a high fare might drive away riders. And TransForm doesn’t usually argue for higher transit fares! But in this case, BART staff’s own analysis shows that a lower fare would only attract an extra 110 riders per day but cost $1.1 million – that’s $10,000 for every extra rider! Plus, everyday riders are more likely to be low-income and people-of-color than OAC riders. It is just not fair to make those everyday riders bear the burden for an expensive OAC project that will benefit a very small number of wealthier passengers. 
 
The OAC is already predicted to lose money for decades to come. BART Directors must not compound the problem by losing more and more money on the project. The BART Board must focus on the needs of over 400,000 daily BART riders. 
 
When BART adopted the OAC project several years ago, it did so amid claims that the OAC project would cover its operating costs. Those claims were based on a $6 fare. Now that the OAC is about to go into service, BART needs to follow through on those plans. Reducing the fare below $6 would break faith with over 400,000 daily riders and burden all of us by neglecting needed repairs to BART’s aging infrastructure, leading to higher fares. We need to Save BART! not burden the system with more costs.  
 
You can attend the June 12 meeting in-person: 
9:00 am
BART Board Room
Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, Third Floor
344 20th St
Oakland, CA

For more information, see TransForm's Save BART! webpage or contact Joel Ramos.

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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.