BART riders may be slapped with fare hikes

As if San Francisco housing and gas prices weren’t enough, BART officials proposed fare and parking increases this week.

The City’s transit system wants to raise fares by 5.2 percent next year, which officials say is based on the rate of inflation from 2010 to 2012. The average fare price would jump from $3.44 to $3.62.

The rationale is that BART needs the extra $17 million that the fare hike would generate in the first year. And in the coming years, because officials want to continue raising prices in tune with inflation – estimated to be about 3.9 percent every two years – in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Such hikes aren’t out of the ordinary; beginning in 2006, BART has implemented four inflation-based fare hikes. The most recent increase was last year.

These prices could alienate the 39 percent of BART riders who are low-income. But for many, BART is a much cheaper commute and transportation option than paying for gas and parking.

However, parking is about to get even more expensive, too. At BART parking lots that are regularly full and currently cost $3 daily, fees will go up 50 cents every six months. That is slated to bring in about $11 million every year for BART, which currently loses money on parking, according to the SJ Merc News.

Additional changes could include adding a surcharge to rush-hour fares, increasing the $1.75 minimum fare, and a second try at allowing bikes on board during rush hour. Bikes are currently only allowed on during off-peak hours.

Before any changes become permanent, BART is holding a public hearing this Thursday, February 14 at 9 a.m. in the Board Room, 344-20th Street, Third Floor in Oakland.