BART is critical to the Bay Area’s livability and economy, and to the rest of the transportation system in the region. With more than 400,000 boardings per day, BART ridership is more than the system was designed to accommodate, and it will continue to grow.
Yet with outdated technology and a daunting maintenance backlog, the system is teetering on the brink of major disruptions. A critical system failure — especially of the transbay tube — would cripple the region and bring traffic to a standstill. Even on a good day, crowding, delays, and broken elevators point to trouble in the system.
TransForm advocates to keep BART focused on its core functions, so it can meet the needs of the next generation of Bay Area residents. For decades, BART misplaced its priorities, spending millions on expensive expansions that drew very few new riders, and too little on investments to keep the core system in good working order. Leaders at BART are finally taking steps to turn this around and focus on safety and repairs, but staying on the right track is not a foregone conclusion.
When BART considered a bond measure for repairs and maintenance, we pushed them to go big and ask for more money, which they did. In 2016 voters approved the $3.5 billion bond measure to cover critical repairs, technology updates, safety improvements, and station upgrades. Even still, there remains a maintenance backlog of several billion dollars, and the system is stretched dangerously thin.
Making the most of new BART projects
BART must learn from its past mistakes (like the Oakland Airport Connector) and make sure new proposals — such as a possible extensions to Livermore or a second Transbay rail crossing — do not compromise the system as a whole or raise costs for those who depend on it.
We’re also working to ensure BART uses its land around stations to support walkable, affordable neighborhoods where people can easily and safely use BART to get around. Learn more about our work to link affordable housing and transit.
- See our blog post in support of Regional Measure 3, new bridge tolls passed in 2018 to help pay for new BART cars, among other priorities.
- See our report, Crossing Together: Equity Considerations for a Second Transbay Crossing.
- See our op-ed in support of Measure RR.
- Watch the video: Keep BART Moving After 40 Years
For more information about this work, contact Joel Ramos.