BART is appealing to riders to weigh-in via a survey on fare increases in 2024 and 2025 that it says will help it continue to provide “safe and reliable service.” The agency is also considering offering low-income Clipper START customers an increased discount of 50 percent—which is up from 20 percent, on Jan. 1, 2024. Customers can find the online survey here. BART began implementing its Board-Approved Inflation-Based Fare Increase Program in 2004, which institutes below-inflation, small fair adjustments intermittently over time. Amid “recent rapid inflation,” BART said the program’s formula “calls for a single 11.4 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2024.” The agency is looking to sidestep that larger, at-once increase by spreading it out over two smaller increases “of up to 5.5 percent each in 2024 and 2025.” The agency last increased fares by 3.4 percent on July 1, 2022. According to BART, it is also examining the possibility of offering larger discounts for Clipper START program riders, which is for adults with a household income that’s 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less. Again, the discount would increase from 20 percent per trip to 50 percent per trip. “Money from the fare increases will go towards our operating and capital budgets, funding train service, enhanced cleaning, additional police and unarmed safety staff presence and capital projects such as purchasing new train cars,” said BART. Again, find the survey about BART’s scheduled fare increases through March 26 here. Those responding can enter to win a $50 Clipper card.

BART to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all employees

in Community

BART’s Board of Directors voted to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Dec. 13.

The decision passed with an 8-1 vote at the Board’s meeting Thursday despite opposition from a handful of employees. BART has stated 833 of over 4,000 employees are unvaccinated. Vaccination rates have reportedly remained stagnate since mid-September, despite the agency’s efforts to incentivize getting vaccinated.

Those conflicted over the new requirements have suggested permitting unvaccinated employees to show proof of weekly negative COVID-19 tests. Some have vocalized fears that BART services may be disrupted if unvaccinated workers are faced with termination following the Dec. 13 deadline. Details on how employees who refuse vaccination have yet to be released.

The policy allows for negotiations with BART’s labor unions, leaving some of the more controversial discussion topics in the power of the unions. The full policy statement from BART and board meeting video can be viewed here.

The BART mandate comes after numerous large transit agencies have already implemented similar practices, such as Muni and L.A. Metro service.

Photo courtesy of BART