Riders weigh in: BART hosts first-ever telephone town hall tonight

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(KRON/BCN) — BART is inviting the public to weigh in as the transit agency discusses its proposed fiscal year 2016 budget, during its first-ever telephone town hall meeting Thursday night.

The spending plan includes a proposed 3.4 percent inflation-based fare increase to help pay for new train cars, a new maintenance facility, and a new train control system, according to BART officials.

The agency’s priorities for spending the money in the nearly $1.6 billion combined capital and operating budget include increasing passenger traffic and improving the system’s cleanliness and how often trains are on time, BART officials said.

The 6:30 p.m. meeting is accessible by calling (855) 269-4484 or by signing up online beforehand. Spanish-speaking customers can call in at (888) 400-9342.

Officials said people who sign-up early online will get a call from BART that connects them to the meeting. Those customers will also get some priority in having their questions taken first, according to the transit agency.

A webcast of the meeting will allow residents to watch the meeting live and ask a question in writing. The web address for the webcast is http://cast.teletownhall.us/web_client/?id=BART.

In addition to Thursday’s town hall meeting, BART still plans to hold its official public meeting on the budget at the agency’s board of directors meeting May 28.

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