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  • Writer's pictureAmy Thomson

++Press Release - Saving the Bus is Cheaper than Letting Transit Fail

Updated: May 13, 2023


Contact: Amy Thomson, Transportation Policy and Programs Manager

Saving the Bus is Cheaper than Letting Transit Fail

Analysis of predicted ridership drop reveals climate impacts,

heavy financial burden for transit-dependent

A BART train stopped at an indoor platform with people waiting to board in the background

OAKLAND, Calif., May 10, 2023—The $2.5 billion needed to save Bay Area transit is less costly, in terms of dollars, people, and the planet, than the $5 billion in additional transportation costs that will be paid by the people who can least afford it.

TransForm analyzed the region’s Short Range Transit Plans requested by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and found that the predicted transit ridership drop without state investment will have dire consequences for greenhouse gas emissions and low-income people. This is a financial burden few can manage: of all rides taken by people who don’t own cars, 80% are by people who earn $75,000 or less.

If public transit funding is not included in the May revise of the state budget, to be released this Friday by Governor Gavin Newsom, our policy analysis reveals three major consequences:

  • Bay Area residents would take 735 million fewer transit rides due to service cuts.

  • More than 100,000 people could switch to gas-powered cars, a $5 billion dollar burden over five years for those who can least afford it.

  • Increased car trips will release 56,500 tons of CO2, the equivalent of 63 million pounds of coal burned, threatening California’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 48% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“California has a choice,” says Jenn Guitart, Executive Director of TransForm. “Let public transit fail, passing the costs of getting around to the people who can least afford it, or we can invest billions less, save Bay Area transit, and help meet our climate goals.”

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