OAKLAND — BART’s board of directors on Thursday unanimously approved its budget for the upcoming fiscal year as well as a preliminary budget for the following fiscal year, 2023-2024.
The balanced budget includes the use of $313.6 million in federal emergency COVID-19 funding in fiscal year 2022-23 as the transit agency continues to recover from the drop in ridership due to the pandemic.
BART officials opted to move to a two-year budget approval process this year in an effort to improve the agency’s long-term financial planning.
As part of the budget, BART will increase fares by 3.4% systemwide, an increase originally scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022, in an effort to keep up with inflation. BART officials noted that the 3.4% increase remains below current inflation levels.
According to BART officials, the average cost of the fare will increase by 15 cents to $3.78. BART riders pay an average of 28 cents per mile traveled in the transit system, according to Pamela Herhold, BART’s assistant general manager for performance and budget.
The increase is expected to generate approximately $15 million over the next two years.
The fiscal year 2023 budget also includes changes to BART’s Saturday service schedule by providing service on all five lines until the system closes at midnight.
Currently, BART operates its five lines daily until 9 p.m., then limits service to lines between Millbrae and Antioch, Daly City and Dublin/Pleasanton and Richmond and North San Jose.
BART board members pushed for more frequent weekend service in the budget approved Thursday, as ridership recovered faster on the weekend than during the normal work week.
“Using public transit should be easy,” BART Board Chair Rebecca Saltzman said in a statement. “The service plan enabled by this budget makes taking BART more convenient and less complicated.”
The budget for fiscal year 2023 will come into effect on July 1, 2022.