The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors has approved a $2.44 billion FY 2022 budget, which will take effect July 1.
The FY22 operating budget is $1.02 billion and the capital budget is $1.42 billion, supporting 256 projects. Priority projects including the Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program ($243 million) and the procurement of 775 new Fleet of the Future railcars ($452 million) account for nearly 50% of the total capital budget.
“Though BART reduced its operating spending in the current fiscal year by approximately $100 million compared to budget, the FY22 budget continues to heavily rely on emergency federal support, including $328 million in CARES Act and $57 million in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding,” the agency reported June 10.
The new budget assumes ridership will continue to recover at an average of 36% of pre-COVID levels in FY22. Rail passenger revenue is estimated at $165.8 million.
BART explained that the budget is “based on the idea that the best way to attract riders is to increase the frequency of service and enhance the overall experience.” In addition returning to near pre-pandemic service levels and hours starting August 30, BART is hiring 10 more Transit Ambassadors as well as 50 new part-time and 17 new full-time railcar cleaners; adding 22 new part-time station cleaners; and completing train ventilation system upgrades with the installation of new MERV-14 air filters. Another incentive for riders to return: BART will offer 50% off all Clipper fares for the month of September. The revenue impact is $4.3 million.
Despite BART’s focus on supporting and growing ridership, the agency noted that it will “continue to advocate for more permanent and ongoing assistance by working closely with Bay Area lawmakers.”
“This budget provides the necessary blueprint for BART to restore service to near pre-pandemic levels and play its critical role in the reopening of the Bay Area’s economy,” BART Board President Mark Foley said. “As we continue to welcome riders back in the weeks and months ahead, we will now be able to offer more frequent service including on weekends as well as longer service hours and an increased employee presence throughout the system to promote safety and security.”