SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – BART officials estimate ridership will only be 50% of normal by 2023.  

A key reason: A slow road to recovery from the pandemic.  

At Thursday’s BART Board Directors meeting, expanding potential revenue sources was the main topic.  

Over the past two years, a new normal has taken shape in the workplace according to a 10-month employer survey conducted by the Bay Area council.

“We’ve seen over the course of the 10-months, right around 40% has been responding that a three-day week is going to be their new norm,” policy and regulatory counsel Kelly O’Branowicz said. 

“Employees got back three days a week. That’s two days of revenue we are not going to get,” chief communications officer Alicia Trost said. 

The employer survey presentation is part of the BART Board of Directors annual workshop. 

General manager Bob Powers told the board, the current funding model, which relies 100% on the fare-box is not sustainable in the wake of the pandemic.

“We have to update our funding model and we have to be more resilient with our funding sources,” Powers said. 

BART chief communications officer Alicia Trost says among the options being explored – a transit tax.

“Right now, there’s a lot of conversations taking place among all of the transit systems about what kind of funding can we tap into. Do we need to go to the ballot? It’s not something that’s going to happen right now but the conversations have to be had and we are doing that,” Trost said. 

Over the next two-and-half years, federal emergency dollars will continue to cover the pandemic-related revenue shortfall from decreased ridership, which BART officials say was around 400,000 daily passengers before COVID-19.

“And as of today we are about 28% of that,” Trost said. 

However, Trost says BART is experiencing growth in more non-work-related ridership on weekends and that the transit agency has been focusing on attracting additional riders by improving the overall experience.

“We need to make sure our trains are as clean as possible, that our system is safe, and not just COVID safe but your personal security and that’s what we have been doing,” Trost said.