SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Two of the Bay Area’s major transit agencies issued statements Friday warning of serious service reductions unless state funding can be secured. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency warned that Muni faces an “impending fiscal cliff” without state funding. Bay Area Rapid Transit issued its own statement warning that BART too was moving closer to “plunging off the fiscal cliff.”
Both agencies have warned of the potential for drastic and sweeping service reductions unless the state can offer short-term financial aid to fund transit.
“One-time federal funds are dwindling even with BART’s stringent cost controls and will be exhausted by early 2025,” said BART President Janice Li and General Manager Bob Powers in a joint statement. “If transit operations is not included in this year’s State budget, BART must begin making severe cuts to service and staffing, as early as this year.”
“San Francisco cannot afford to lose public transit,” read a statement from SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin. “But that is the direction we’re heading in if the state legislature doesn’t change course and make California public transit a priority.”
Some of the service cutbacks BART is warning of without help from the state include:
- Trains only once an hour
- No trains on weekends
- No trains after 9 p.m. on weeknights
- Reduced service to SFO and Oakland airport
- Some stations closed
- Entire lines potentially shuttered
Muni is similarly warning of cutting back service to pandemic levels with:
- 40% fewer routes
- Service ending at 10 p.m.
- Reduced service in San Francisco’s hilly neighborhoods
“Before the SFMTA makes any Muni cuts, we will work with community members to understand the most pressing needs, analyze new travel patterns and prioritize neighborhoods with residents who depend on transit most,” said Tumlin. “But there is not good way to make cuts of this magnitude.”
“Everyone will pay the price of BART fails — even those who don’t use it,” said Li and Powers. “Traffic stands to drastically worsen across our already congested roadways and bridges, and regional greenhouse gas emissions will increase, further fueling climate change.”
At issue for both agencies is some $5 billion in state funds public transit agencies are seeking to help compensate for a loss of revenue due to ridership that has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. California Gov. Gavin Newsom denied public transit agencies the financial lifeline they are seeking in his latest spending plan.