BART on track for 3.4 percent fare bump

BART is taking public comments on a plan to increase current fares by 3.4 percent next year, transit agency officials said.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2016, fares will increase by either 10 or 15 cents depending on distance of the trip. Passengers who travel between Berkeley and the MacArthur station or from the El Cerrito del Norte to the 12th Street Oakland City Center stations will see a 10-cent hike.

It will cost 15 more cents to ride along longer stretches of the system, including from Hayward to the Embarcadero station, from the Lake Merritt to Balboa Park stations and between the Walnut Creek to Powell Street stations.

The added revenue from the fare hike will help pay for high-priority projects in the transit system, including new rail cars, an automated train control system and an expansion of the Hayward Maintenance Complex, BART officials said. The planned fare hike is part of the agency’s inflation-based fare increase program, which helps the agency generate its own revenue to fund the system.

The planned increase in 2016 is estimated to bring $15 million a year to the agency, BART officials said. The biennial increase takes the average of local and national inflation in a two-year period, which is then subtracted by a half-percent to account for BART’s “operating efficiencies.”

The final total is a rate below inflation and rounded to the nearest nickel. The BART board of directors adopted the program in 2003 and the first hike took place in 2006. Public comments on the planned increase will be accepted until April 28 and will be submitted to the BART board of directors.

Comments can be sent by mail to the BART Office of Civil Rights at 300 Lakeside Drive, Suite 1600, Oakland, CA 94612. Comments can also be made by phone to (510) 464-6752, by fax to (510) 464-7587 or by email at fares@bart.gov. People can also fill out an online survey on the increase and learn more information about the program at http://www.bart.gov/guide/titlevi.