FTA to BART & MTC: You’ve run out of time on the OAC; reallocate $70 million in stimulus funds to the transit agencies

12 Feb


After almost exactly a year of trying to make the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project equitable and cost-effective, it looks like we’ve finally won the original battle. Back in February 2009, more than a 100 advocates urged the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) not to provide stimulus funds to the OAC and instead to provide the funds to all the regional transit agencies to prevent service cuts and fare hikes.

MTC didn’t agree, but a year later, the Federal Transit Administration has told MTC that this is the only reasonable course of action.

FTA sent a letter to BART and MTC today saying that there’s simply not enough time to implement BART’s corrective action plan that had been mandated by FTA, and that MTC should turn to plan B and revert the $70 million in stimulus funds back to the regional transit agencies.

The letter, which you really should click on and read in full, is beautifully worded:

I am required to reject your plan for the following reasons. Based on the timelines submitted by BART, there is no way the agency can come into full compliance with Title VI by September 30, 2010. The requirements of ARRA dictate that any funds not disbursed by September 30, 2010, must be lapsed back to the Treasury. And since I cannot allow BART to draw any funds for the OAC project prior to coming into full compliance, it is clear that pursuit of the OAC project would result in the funds either being reallocated out of the Bay area or lapsed. Both scenarios are unacceptable to me as I am sure they are to you. Let me say that, based on FTA’s experience in other cities, BART is being realistic in admitting that the process of coming into full compliance will take considerably longer than the 8+ months that remain before the September 30 deadline. I appreciate and respect your honesty in this regard.

Given the fact that the initial Title VI complaint against BART was well founded, I am not in a position to award the ARRA funds to BART while the agency remains out of compliance. Moreover, it is clear that, if FTA were to pursue such a course, the likelihood of protracted litigation with the parties that made the initial complaint is extremely high. Given this situation, and the fact that we are now only 3 weeks away from the March 5 deadline, I must bring these discussions to a close so that we can work together to ensure that the ARRA funds can create and preserve jobs in the Bay area.

This is all very surreal. After so many losses, so many frustrating days and nights knowing that we were doing the right thing but still getting nowhere, it’s a bit hard to believe that the FTA has validated our arguments.

I don’t know what BART’s next move is. I hope that they sit down with transit and social justice advocates and explore a more equitable bus rapid transit project. The Oakland Airport Connector could still be a highly successful project that creates jobs and provides a cheap and convenient connection to the airport.

Regardless, $70 million in stimulus funds will go to good use, and I couldn’t be much happier about that. AC Transit desperately needs these funds. Muni can close their entire budget gap with these funds. And of course BART will greatly benefit from these funds.

Thanks to everyone who’s pitched in over the past year. Our efforts have finally been proven to be well worth it.

Previous posts on the Oakland Airport Connector:

43 Responses to “FTA to BART & MTC: You’ve run out of time on the OAC; reallocate $70 million in stimulus funds to the transit agencies”

  1. PRE February 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    As much as I thought the OAC as designed was a very dubious project, I am torn by this outcome. Where are the cries of Title VI compliance over the single Warm Springs station ($900M) or the single eBART station in Antioch ($500M)? Both those projects just seem to fly right under the radar.

    if I were BART what possible reason would I have to do anything at all in Oakland where I would be sure to run into resistance no matter what? The people in Fremont and Antioch want BART to build there. What does Oakland want? I predict that Oakland will end up with nothing when all of this is over.

    • Eric February 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

      On the contrary, I think Oakland stands to gain a lot from this decision, including:

      An opportunity for a better connector project which will actually improve travel to the airport and serve East Oakland residents and airport workers
      Redirected funds to AC Transit which could stave off service cuts for at least a while longer
      A BART system not burdened by the costs and likely overruns of the original project; these things would have threatened future fare increases and service cuts for the core system
      A shaken up BART administration that will actually begin to incorporate social justice into their considerations (goodness, I hope so)

      BART shouldn’t be afraid to build projects in Oakland–it should be afraid to build BAD projects in Oakland. Whether all these things come to fruition is a huge question mark, but not wasting $70 million is still cause for celebration.

    • Max Allstadt February 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

      PRE, it’s clear from the letter that the FTA intends to apply Title VI scrutiny to BART system wide. BART is truly awful, and the FTA, for now, has figured it out and will be breathing down their neck at every turn. This couldn’t be much better.

      • Chuck February 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

        Bingo! I think the reason BART has to be scared of this letter — and in their own press release they so do a great job of tap dancing around it — is the sentence following the one where FTA / Rogoff notes that they found the Title VI complaint to be well founded. It jeopardizes federal money for the entire system by noting “Moreover, the compliance review revealed a number of other serious concerns related to BART’s overall compliance with Title VI.”

        You are right note they’ve got some projects on the table that are worthy of ridicule and scrutiny. But I think you’re off the mark in intimating this is the end of BART’s support of Oakland; in fact FTA’s response is rather directly critical of their lack of interest in the well being of our city.

        • Chuck February 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

          LOL — I didn’t mean this at Max but at PRE. Just got excited on the abundant “reply” links 😉

  2. Max Allstadt February 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Wow, Becks!

    Way to kick ass and take names! You, Rebecca Kaplan and TransForm have layed some epic PWN on BART. The full ramifications of the letter extend well beyond the OAC and set a really encouraging precedent. We apparently can expect the FTA to pressure BART on some of their multiple other sucky traits.

    Bob Gammon even gave you a shoutout for breaking this news.

    Where’s the party at?

    • Alan from Berkeley February 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

      Speculating here — but since BART has no experience or competence running a bus system (and just got BUSTED on OAC), and since AC Transit has been working on BRT for a decade, a whole lot of OAC money might get repurposed to new project management in the next 6-12 months. (But only a fraction of that original half-billion will be needed.)

      That’d be the GOOD news for AC. The OTHER news would be spelled “Title VI,” where AC can also not bear a lot of scrutiny today.

      Wow — transit systems that actually have to consider social equity instead of just building gold-plated projects for well-to-do suburbanites. Are you listening, MTC?

  3. david vartanoff February 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm #


  4. livegreen February 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    I hope the FTA reviews BART’s sky high fares. Now there’s a social justice issue. $6.20 round trip min each day O-SF is not just a rip-off but theft (more for those who must take MUNI or other in SF). Especially for the working class, I don’t know how they can afford it.

  5. Jim T February 12, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Well done. well done, indeed.

    Thanks, Becks. And thank you Transform and Kaplan. I am impressed.

  6. Navigator February 13, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    Oakland is becoming a transportation backwater while San Francisco will get more money for MUNI and continue with the Chinatown underground subway along with getting a new HSR station.

    What does Oakland get out of this? Money for AC Transit? Those millions will not be seen anywhere in Oakland. While I agree with the blight issues that the connector would have caused, and the lack of stops, the project could have been improved and still kept the money and jobs in Oakland.

    Once again Oakland reactionaries and representatives with ties to the bus system, are against something in Oakland. When will you be FOR something in Oakland? When will you fight to keep that money IN Oakland for light rail in downtown? When will you fight for HSR for Oakland and the East Bay? When will you fight to keep the A’s in Oakland? Oakland is a city with no vision ready to throw money back at a region who will gladly take it and keep using Oakland as a thoroughfare to somewhere else.

    • Andy K February 13, 2010 at 8:57 am #

      The project would not have been “improved.” It was out the door, contractor selected to design, build and operate. The concept was compete – only the final design needed to be done – meaning the size of columns, amount of concrete, foundations, etc.

      Not only was the design crappy – 28 mph train with a $6 one way fare, blighting Hegenberger with no intermediate stops – but the cost of operating this would put undue pressure on the core system, raising fares for all BART riders.

  7. Naomi Schiff February 13, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Hey, Becks, Transform and all, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR EFFORTS! I think this is a great development. I hope it will free BART from its albatross, and that we can move on to do good things for local transit and connectivity. BART can learn, they just need a little help.

  8. Brad February 13, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    I hope this will force BART to reconsider their discriminatory fare structure, where a trip from Pittsburg/Bay Point to San Francisco, which is more than three times the distance than a trip from Oakland to San Francisco, nevertheless costs less than twice the price, so that inner East Bay residents are in effect subsidizing the commutes of far flung exurbanites.

    • Robert February 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

      Operating costs in a system such as BART are compsed of part fixed costs for each boarding, and part variable costs depending on distance. So a certain amount of each ticket gets charge for each time you go through the turnstile, and a separate amount for the distance traveled. So BARTs fare structure is reasonable.

      • Max Allstadt February 14, 2010 at 2:19 am #

        In Boston and New York, the fares are mostly the same fixed rate for any distance. The reasoning there is that if a system is meant to serve people equitably, the fare should be the same even for poor workers commuting long distances from working class suburbs to downtown.

        It also acts as a subsidy for intracity commerce, by removing a cost disincentive from people who’d otherwise regularly travel far beyond their own neighborhood. This is particularly beneficial for destination attractions, like ballparks, aquariums, zoos, malls, and the like. In New York, if you’re in the Bronx and you want to go to Coney Island with a family of 5, the cost is not the thing that stops you.

        • Robert February 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

          Max, That would make the ‘subsidy’ that Brad is complaining about even greater. On its face, the BART fare structure appears to reflect operating costs. A totally flat fare, or a fare strictly proportional to mileage, are both designed to subsidize one group or another, because they do not reflect operating costs. (Including capital in the discussion would change the proper balance point, but would not change the fact that costs consist of both fixed and mileage related costs.)

  9. PRE February 13, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Again, nobody has a word about my specific question which was why the OAC puts such undue pressure on the BART system while the even more suburban centric and more costly Warm Springs extension doesn’t come under such scrutiny. Max says that the FTA intends to “apply” this over BART system wide. Warm Springs broke ground last year – are they pulling the plug on that one? And WHERE was all this commotion when that was being planned and funded? Everyone is congratulating themselves over stopping something – it’s no wonder that nothing ever gets done in this city.

    • Drunk Engineer February 14, 2010 at 9:41 am #

      Warm Springs has come under intense scrutiny. Perhaps you just weren’t paying attention.

      FTA has already given the project numerous “Not Recommended” ratings. BART and the VTA went ahead and broke ground anyway. They have had to cut the line short, in case no Federal funds are made available.

      • PRE February 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

        If you had said that BART to San Jose has come under intense scrutiny I might agree with you. The Warm Springs extension is entirely within Alameda County and is not associated with VTA but is a standard BART project – which just happens to cost almost a billion dollars. It’s the portion within Santa Clara county being built by VTA that will likely be cut short at Berryessa because of lack of funds. The distinction is not academic but is integral to my argument. If you’re going to tell someone that they’re not paying close enough attention perhaps you should get your own facts straight.

        My point is the Warm Springs single station completely suburban extension hasn’t generated even a fraction of the comments that the (admittedly flawed) OAC has here or on any number of other sites (A Better Oakland, Transbay Blog etc). It didn’t cause Transform to turn it into their cause celebre such that all four items on their home page about “Transform in the News” are about Warm Springs rather than OAC.

        Why don’t people just admit it? Fremont is simply not on “transit acitivist’s” radar screens so BART can do whatever they want. If someone can point me to Transform’s page on why Warm Springs is a drain on BART’s finances and why it is skewed to weathly suburbanites (which it certainly is) I’d love to see it.

        • Drunk Engineer February 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

          You’re blowing smoke. The Sierra Club, Transform, et al all worked to defeat Alameda County Transportation sales tax measure due to Warm Springs.

          As result, the revised Transportation Sales tax measure specifically stated that Warm Springs could not be built unless VTA obtained “full funding” to continue the line on to San Jose.

          Transdef (and others) questioned whether VTA really met the “full funding” requirement. Transdef also questioned whether Dumbarton rail funds could be diverted to Warm Springs. A lawsuit was filed, MTC responded with a SLAPP suit, and that was that.

          So, yes, people did work very hard to defeat the stupid Warm Springs project.

  10. david vartanoff February 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    @PRE, you are spot on about Warm Springs and just in time for the only serious trip generator to shut down as construction gears up.
    @Robert, NO, BART’s fares are seriously inequitable as well as uneconomic. On another blog a not quite accurate graphic showed that trains to PBP book fewer riders than the much shorter Richmond branch. As cars wear ouit based on mileage, the cost per rider to PBP is thus much higher both because of greater distance and fewer riders per train. Yet, they get much cheaper fares. We in the urban core pay them to ride.

    • Robert February 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

      Inequitable is a political discussion. Fares can be designed to reflect costs, or be designed to subsidize one group or another.

      Without access to a lot more information than I have, and spending a lot of time analyzing that data, it is not possible to say if BARTS fare structure accurately reflects costs. What I was saying is that a lower fare per mile traveled is a natural outcome of the fixed costs for each boarding (station related) and the incremental costs per mile. It is certainly possible to fine tune this by station utilization maintenance costs, etc., but this requires way more information than I have.

      If you have done the mathematical analysis that supports your claim, publish it, and quit talking in generalities.

      • david vartanoff February 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

        Assuming the sunk costs to build a mile of freeway median, or simple elevated were much the same both sides of the hills , and similar stations the same, (how much more for instance should WC have been than ECP or FV?) then it is clear that the capital cost per boarding rider is greater east of the hills because the distances are greater. In the Dublin case the costs are even higher because courtesy of inflation the $$ per mile were higher than the original system. I have already pointed out the mileage differential in car repair cost cycles. Next the electricity spent per rider also is greater, again because of greater mileage. So, the cost per rider carried is higher per mile east of the hills, and yet, most hours of service long trains are used because in the urban core the trains are close to full exacerbating the electricity/fleet maintenance/fleet capital cost differential per rider/mile. ALL of this combines to make the lines east of the hills less productive on a $$ invested generating rider miles basis.

        • Robert February 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

          This is not an analysis of operating costs, it is nothing but theory. Math requires actual numbers. Operating costs pr mile may be higher east of the hills, but until you know the breakdown of costs between fixed and variable, you don’t have any basis for your claim that the inner city is subsidizing the burbs;

          Capital costs are pretty much irrelevant anyway, because most of those are paid for by separate grants, and are not rolled into operating costs. True for stations and track, and mostly true for rolling stock. Because of that alone, replacement costs are not an issue, although maintenance can be.

  11. Max Allstadt February 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

    What’s particularly good about this for Oakland is that the FTA has just demonstrated that it actually cares about making sure that transit spending is equitable. That benefits us, because we’re one of the poorer cities in the area, so spending equitably in Oakland is easier.

    If BART wants a better connector, what’s amazing is that even with all this money lost, they still have enough money to build three beautiful BRT connectors.

    They can do truly dedicated lanes. They can do signal priority. They can do the highest-end possible vehicles, with hybrid engines or clean deisel. They can do super smooth magnetic-guidance systems that offer a train-like ride. They can do platform boarding with a train-like no-step-up feel. And they can have lots of money left over.

    This, of course, assumes that by some miracle the BART board will end its obdurate refusal to consider any option that doesn’t look like a train. Stranger things have happened. We never thought we’d kill this project. Maybe we’ll be surprised and they’ll suddenly listen to reason instead of listening to lobbyists from the concrete industry.

  12. Robert February 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Better yet, take (some) of the money and subsidize cabs from BART to OAK, either free or for the current $3 fare each way. Never a wait for a bus to come, door to door service from BART to the terminal. Provide increase in jobs for taxi drivers.

  13. John Klein February 15, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    I wouldn’t be too quick to “dance on the grave” of OAC. Dellums supported it along with a lot of others. Dellums also spends a lot of time in DC and has deep roots there. There is no doubt he’ll do some serious arm twisting to get this decision reversed. And, what’s the calculation on how many votes he might win/lose by getting the OAC funding back during the next several months?

    • Becks February 15, 2010 at 10:12 am #

      The OAC may not be dead, but this funding is gone forever. It is going to be reallocated – that’s already been decided by the MTC (contrary to media reports, there will be no meeting this Wednesday to decide that). There is no way to go back on that decision.

      Unless there’s another stimulus bill, I don’t see where the money comes from. And even if there is another stimulus bill, I don’t think BART can count on money coming to this project. Also, I wouldn’t assume that supporters of the OAC, outside of BART, are willing to risk anymore political capital on this project.

  14. DD February 15, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    A much less touted letter from FTA may be far more interesting for Bay Area equity advocates:

    Click to access oac.pdf

    Pages 6-7 show that FTA is not only going to look into BART’s equity issues, but also MTC’s complicity in this process, and its failure to ensure the proper analysis was done before supporting the project.

    • Becks February 15, 2010 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks for sharing that letter – I hadn’t seen it before.

      I’ll be writing about this more later this week, but yes, it seems clear that FTA plans to investigate BART and MTC’s Title VI compliance in detail, relating to all projects, not just the OAC.

  15. david vartanoff February 15, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    @ Robert. No, maintenance costs based on mileage is not theory. BART like unto many other transit systems, does maintenance inspections after specific mileage has been accrued. Thus running long trains on long mileage routes is an issue. If you wish to ignore sunk costs of ROW and stations, fine–they ALL require maintenance. So the reality still is that electricity to run the trains, fleet and track wear and tear, are higher per rider when running emptier trains over longer routes. This is exacerbated by charging less per mile traveled.
    Quote below is from former BART Director Roy Nakadegawa in a Capricious Commuter debate over a proposed flat fare. While the numbers are obsolete, the fare disparities have INCREASED as fares went up across the board in the interim.

    To consider a flat fare for BART by paraphrasing that the Bay Area “is no less urbanized than New York Area” is a gross exaggeration. New York MTA serves a single city with 6 times the population of BART that serves multiple sprawled cites. NY began service 100 years ago and built within city limits BART is still expanding into even less dense cities. BART has far fewer stations that are widely spaced. NY does not have anywhere near the number of parking spaces yet it carries over 20 times BART’s daily ridership and their stations are rarely more that 1.5 miles apart. Moreover, their flat fare does not apply to the new rail service to JFK Airport that charges $7.

    So, there is little comparison to say that since NY has a single fare,
    BART should as well. BART fares are not complicated as some imply because when buying a ticket, the fare machines have a chart that tells you what the fares are from the station one boards to the desired station.

    As BART extends out into distant suburbs, BART provides parking like commuter rail systems and they base their fares on mileage. BART is similar to Washington Metro (WMATA) with lots of parking (but charges for all its parking) serves multi cities and also continually considers expansions. BART and WMATA being more like a commuter rail, base their fares on mileage as well.

    BART’s current base fare is $1.40 for a trip up to 6 miles, which calculates to 23.3 cents per mile but $1.40 is charged even though the trip is to the next station. If the trip exceeds 6 miles, the charge is reduced at 11.7 cent per mile and if the trip exceeds 14 miles the mileage, the charge is further reduced at 7.1 cents per mile. If the West Pittsburg/Baypoint (WPB) to Millbrae/SFO trip is charged the inner city mileage rate the fare would be $13, while current fare is $6.30.

    The charge to SFO airport is $7.65 due to a surcharge required by the airport. So, distant trips are given a substantial discount. The great majority of BART trips are not long distant trips. So, a flat fare will be discriminatory to the majority riders that includes the low-income and disabled inner city users.

    Two other benefits the distant rider currently receives should also be considered. First, there is the large subsidy one receive using BART extensions. Consider the Concord to WPB Extension, with a construction cost of $503 million and its projected ridership is 13,000 trips per day after 20 years. Taking the construction costs and operation/maintenance (O/M) cost, a rough estimate for each trip just for this section is costing the public about $10.50 per trip over 20 years. Since most of the trips currently made are beyond 6 miles and probably over 14, the fare collected for this section will be less than $1 per trip which means the overall pubic subsidy for each trip is $9.50+ across this section.

    At $9.50 trip subsidy, the round trip will be a $18 daily subsidy! This is for the more affluent BART rider and is probably only half to third of ones daily household trips.

    Second benefit is BART parking. Parking is predominately located at outlying stations and frequently used by distant riders. Only 30% of BART ridership uses parking. Parking was free up to 2 years ago. Since only 30% of BART riders use parking and 70% do not, for equity, the cost of parking the should be charged an amount where it pays for itself, which is at least $4 per day to cover its construction, land and O/M cost.

    BART has finally begun charging for parking at few stations, the fees are still not revenue neutral. The distant riders uses these subsidized
    parking free or may pay a fee that does not amortize its overall cost
    but may barely pay its O/M cost. So, by BART providing subsidized
    parking for the more distant riders who happen to be more affluent than the inner city user who has little or no parking, this is patently
    unfair and discriminatory.

    What is even sadder is the fares paid by 70% non-parking BART users, mostly inner city user, actually pays for part of parking’s O/M cost.

    Adding all the benefits should be evident that the more distant rider gets considerable public benefits already. Therefore, to raise the inner city fare to accommodate a flat fare would be an immoral injustice.

    In lieu, BART should consider a zonal fare system that would be compatible and coordinated to the various local transit agencies like
    how it is now with MUNI. With systems as AC Transit that covers such a large area, the joint fare with BART could be limited to a BART trip across 6+ miles (the base fare distance). This would increase transit use on both AC Transit and BART while encouraging less BART parking. The “Translink” Smart Card, could be programmed to reduce the charge per trip after using transit 30 workday trips within 3 week period, and then further reduced if the rider used transit in excess of 40 trips over 4 week period down to zero. The Translink Card would still allow BART travel beyond the 6+ mile or across the Bay by deducting additional charges from the card.

    Another program that should be considered is for various evening and weekend events is to add a small additional fee to the admission price, such as 50 cents, that BART would receive. This would enable the ticket holder to go to a nearby BART station that has available parking and show the event ticket to the BART station attendant, allowing the person a free trip to/from the event up to 3-4 stations away. BART would gain supplemental revenue and lessen the usual congestion and demand for parking around the event area.

  16. Robert February 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    David, I will try this one more time. What you consistently ignore is that the stations themselves have operating costs associated with them. So a neutral, unbiased fare structure would be a fixed charge per rider to pay for the station costs, and then a per mile charge to pay for track and train maintenance. Which seems to be exactly what BART is doing. It this case, it looks like BART is charging $1.75 to pay for station costs, and them something about 10 cents per mile for track/train charges. So the fare structure design looks rational.

    Without knowing actual cost breakdowns for station maintenance and train maintenance it is not possible to know whether the $1.75 and $0.10 for station and distance are the proper values, but the general design looks correct.

  17. david vartanoff February 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Robert, Apparently you did not read the Nakadegawa quote. BART charges a DECREASING mileage charge as the distance INCREASES. As Roy pointed out, if it were a straight mileage on top of your ‘station fee’ PBP to Montgomery would at least DOUBLE. If you can’t see inequity in that, I give up.

  18. Robert February 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Nakadegawa’s numbers are average cost per mile, not the incremental costs. And this behavior of average costs is exactly what you expect from a fixed cost plus per mile charges. I am sorry you can’t understand a cost model that is used in many different industries and is the basis behind bulk discounts in retail pricing.

    The PBP to Montgomery comes out almost spot on using the numbers I gave you above, $1.75 fixed plus $4.00 for 40 miles. (Current fare is $5.95)

  19. david vartanoff February 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Robert, You wrote “…plus $4.00 for 40 miles” . That’s the point!. My fare from Ashby at $3.50, using your formula (and guessing 10 miles) charges me DOUBLE on the mileage. So indeed we have what Roy described — I am being cheated on the mileage to the benefit of the sprawlburbanites. BTW, objection to a policy I consider unjust does not mean I fail to understand the concept.

  20. Robert February 16, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    David, you clearly do fail to understand the concept, and continue to insist that fares should be based solely on distance travelled, and not based on a cost of delivering the service. If you think that long distance commuters should subsidize the short haul travelers in the name of ‘justice’, just say so and quit trying to claim that there is some sort of reverse subsidy going on.

    • PRE February 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

      Robert, using your own figures of a base fare of $1.75 and 10 cents a mile for distance, the fare from Ashby to Montgomery out to be $2.75 (assuming it’s 10 miles.) Since David V. is saying the cost is actually $3.50 than by your own figures those passengers are being overcharged. It seems pretty clear to me (and always has.)

      • Robert February 19, 2010 at 8:50 am #

        Let’s be clear, I do not have access to BARTs operating costs, so my rough analysis is based on the published fares. I only looked at a small set of East BAy numbers when I estimated their model. I think it is totally reasonable that transbay could have different costs associated with it, so it would use a slightly different model. Further, all I have said is that it is quit reasonable for a cost and fare model to charge higher per mile fares for short distances.

        You and dv need to provide evidence that the current fares are not a reasonable allocation of costs.

        • david vartanoff February 21, 2010 at 10:06 am #

          @ Robert. No, all I need to prove, and you have agreed the ## do so, is that the suburbanites are being subsidised by the urbanites. I take that to be ipso facto inequitable. This is a political opinion on which we may disagree although in this case it might rise to a Title VI issue. Check out the LA Bus Riders Union Consent Decree which forced LA MTA to actually buy/deploy enough buses to move the riders.

  21. david vartanoff February 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Failure to approve a ripoff is not failure to understand! You ask if I want long haul commuters to subsidise short haul riders. Currently it is the opposite; I am subsidising the long distance riders. THAT is what I object to.

  22. Brad February 18, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    The 70 million that was taken away from the OAC is being divvied up among Bay Area transit authorities by MTC. Who is getting the lions share? The regions favored by MTC of course, San Francisco and the South Bay. MUNI gets 17.5 million, Caltrain gets 2.7 million, SamTrans gets 2 million, and Santa Clara gets 12.3 million. BART gets 16.9 million.

    How much does AC Transit walk away from this with? A paltry 6.7 million.

  23. Robert February 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    David, “…you have agreed the ## do so, is that the suburbanites are being subsidised by the urbanites.” I have agreed to no such thing, unless you have a different interpretation of “subsidy” than I do.

    To me it is equitable if all riders pay a proportionate share of operating costs, and you have provide ZERO evidence that this is not so. So you need some evidence to back up your hypothesis.

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