BART will raise ride fare July 1, riders slow to return

BART says its prices will go up in July. Ridership has been down due to the pandemic, but officials say they’re making other adjustments they believe will bring riders back.    

It’s not just the pandemic that’s affecting how many people ride BART. Its officials say more people are staying home to work, at least part of the week and that’s something BART will just have to deal with.  

BART says its ridership is about 30-40% of what it used to be on weekdays and about 50% on weekends.    

"I feel like if they maybe lowered their prices, or made it safer, it wouldn’t be such an issue to take public transportation," said Zia Davis, a new BART rider.   

But BART’s prices aren’t going down. The transit agency voted Thursday to raise its ride fares July 1st.  

"Every two years, the BART Board raises the fares using a formula that is lower than the rate of inflation. Of course, this 3.4% is well below the current rate of inflation," said Jim Allison, a BART Spokesperson. 

The latest rate increase had been postponed since January and despite record-breaking gas prices, riders have been slow to return.  

"We’re still increasing at a slower rate than we had originally projected. So it’s taking us longer. Obviously this something that’s affecting our financial outlook, but we’re doing everything we can to encourage people to come back, including having the entire month of September 50% our fares," Allison said.   

Still, high gas prices are encouraging some people to use BART more often.  

"I’ve been riding for maybe about a month, almost every day to work. It’s because of gas prices," Davis said.   

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"I live in Oakland, so I will take it to San Jose to see friends on the weekend," said Dana Bracy, a regular BART rider.    

Both riders we spoke to say they haven’t had any serious issues using BART. Bracy says using it also gives her the freedom to decide if and when she wants to drive her own car.  

"So, from Oakland to San Jose that’s $7. If you drive your car, I’m sure it’s $40," said Bracy.   

Allison said Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is still planning and financing an extension of BART further into Santa Clara County and when that’s done, BART will manage the service.