Bay Area transit in deep trouble (but you already knew that)

January 11th, 2010

LRV 3 MPHThe Mercury News has a special report on revenue shortfalls and service cuts in Bay Area mass transit – not news for anyone who follows it closely but still very serious stuff. Especially devastating is a graphic showing just how slow and expensive common regional commutes are on transit. (This is one reason we support expanded bus rapid transit service – faster service for lower cost, as LA MTA has done very successfully.)

Caltrain proposes deep service cuts including canceling weekend service

May 8th, 2009

Muni’s not the only regional transit system facing a fiscal emergency due to the economy. Caltrain (run by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board) is also facing deep cuts in funding and is considering various options to address its $10M deficit, including possibly cancelling service on weekends. This isn’t likely to be approved, nor should it be – thousands of SF and regional riders count on Caltrain during “non-commute” hours to get to work, shopping, and entertainment, and the loss of weekend service would mean a huge inconvenience for these riders. (The Giants might have something to say about this too.) Fare increases are also on the table, as is a proposed $1 fee for bike commuters.

Public hearings are scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, at 10 am, at Caltrain headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos (near the San Carlos train station).

Higher fees, service cuts likely on BART

January 14th, 2009

BARTRegional commuters on BART are likely to see fares and fees go up this year due to budget shortfalls, today’s Chronicle reports. Among the options being considered are reduced frequency on weekends (from a frequency that is already quite low), higher parking fees at peak demand times, and deferred maintenance.

Other regional systems are facing similar shortfalls, mainly due to lower tax revenues in the slowing economy, despite increased ridership. Caltrain just increased fares at the beginning of the year, and although SFMTA is in the middle of a two year budget cycle, it too is facing higher costs and lower revenues.

Long Mass Transit Wish List for Obama Administration

December 26th, 2008

SF Bay Area transit operators are hoping for new mass transit investment from the feds as part of the upcoming stimulus package as well as reauthorized transportation spending bills. Among the proposed projects are big BART expansions, Caltrain electrification, and Muni projects as small as upgraded fare gates and as large as the Central Subway. But will the new secretary of transportation share these goals? We shall see.

More Commuters Switching To Transit Due to High Gasoline Prices

May 26th, 2008

$4 GasolineThis time in Washington, DC, where ridership is up on all regional systems incluing Metro. Said Metro GM John Catoe this week, “There is a point at which we may see a massive move of commuters from driving to transit because of cost.”

Are Bay Area transit systems ready for big increases in ridership? Muni is working on the Transit Effectiveness Project, and BART and Caltrain are planning on expanded service, but if even 10% of auto drivers switch to transit due to gas prices, will our region be ready?