New BART Stations Open

SamTrans and AC Transit Cut Service

Article published Spring 1996

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In a likely prelude to changes that lie ahead, SamTrans cut bus service and raised fares effective February 24, the first day of BART service to the new Colma station. In the East Bay, AC Transit implemented bus service reductions effective December 31, within a month of the opening of the first of a number of new BART stations since the early 70s.

AC Transit has been facing financial difficulties for several years. At the same time that AC Transit faced an estimated $11.7 million budget shortfall, new BART extensions in AC Transit's two counties were nearing completion. A new North Concord station opened for service on December 16. This line is slated to extend further eastward to a station at Bay Point (West Pittsburg) opening later this year along with the new Dublin line extending east from Hayward.

AC Transit cut two routes and made extensive reductions in evening service. In 1996, the agency plans to cut 25% of its operating hours. AC Transit and most transit agencies will receive about 45% less federal operating assistance this year compared to last year.

AC Transit's budget is not directly affected by BART extensions as is the case for SamTrans. SamTrans agreed to pay for operation and maintenance on a per mile basis for trains serving the Daly City-Colma segment in north San Mateo County. This agreement applies to all future BART service in the county, which the agencies plan to extend as far as Millbrae.

In addition, SamTrans has begun to pay BART part of $230 million for construction of East Bay extensions. This is based on an agreement made between SamTrans and BART in 1988 to build the airport extension in San Mateo County without requiring the county to pay an even more costly buy-in to the BART system in lieu of years of taxes collected by BART within its district encompassing San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties.

To offset the new costs associated with the BART extension, SamTrans eliminated three local routes with low patronage, eliminated Saturday service, and reduced weekday frequencies, or both, on eleven other routes. The agency also shortened some of its routes that served San Francisco or the Daly City BART station to serve the Colma station instead. As a result, fewer SamTrans routes connect directly with SF Muni routes, such as line 28-19th Avenue, which serve parts of southern and western San Francisco not served by BART.

Two affected routes are 90E and 90H, which link San Mateo with Hayward and Half Moon Bay, respectively. 90E, the only bus service on the often congested San MateoˇHayward freeway corridor has been reduced from seven to four round trips, weekdays only.

SamTrans fares increased for the second time in less than a year. The $1 adult base fare did not increase while fares for seniors and the disabled jumped from 35¢ to 50¢. Most fares between San Francisco and the Peninsula increased. In particular, the fare to ride local routes 5M and 7B south from San Francisco doubled from $1 to $2. This is intended to encourage the use of BART which parallels route 5M as far south as Colma.

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Last updated: October 27, 1998

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