The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors has approved a $1.5 billion balanced budget for fiscal year 2014 that responds to customer priorities with investments in cleaner stations, new trains and other system improvements.
The budget assumes weekday ridership of around 404,000 trips, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to the current fiscal year average.
“This budget addresses core issues for our riders such as safety, reliability and cleanliness,” said Board President Tom Radulovich. “We are investing in programs and projects that will have the greatest benefit to our customers as BART begins its fifth decade of service to the Bay Area.”
The budget directs $46 million in operating funds toward an initial order for 410 new rail cars, the first of which are scheduled to be in service in 2017.
The budget also puts aside $7.5 million from the upcoming January 2014 inflation-based fare increase to help pay for three critical funding needs: ordering additional rail cars for a larger fleet to accommodate increased ridership; a new train control system that will allow trains to run closer together and a facility to maintain the new fleet.
Another $7 million is dedicated to replace existing train car seats and floors with easier-to-clean materials; to overhaul propulsion systems for a smoother ride and to upgrade heating and air conditioning systems for greater passenger comfort.
The budget includes no changes in the assumption of the contractual arrangement with employees on wages or benefits, so it may need to be adjusted following adoption of new labor contracts, set to expire June 30, 2013, noted BART. Negotiations are underway.
The budget does, however, include a 1 percent wage increase to begin July 1, 2013, for employees, based on meeting criteria specified in 2009 contracts. The criteria included increases in sales tax revenue and ridership and an upper limit on increases in pension and medical costs.
The budget for fiscal year 2014 takes effect July 1, 2013, and runs through June 30, 2014.