Public transportation’s afflicted with problems of chronic money shortage.  Case in point: BART’s considering a fare hike during peak hours because the subway system’s being pushed to its limits by — in no particular order — too many passengers, ominous gas prices, overloaded city roadways and the giant gaping hole in the planet’s ozone layer.  Also, communists.

As things stand now, BART’s able to ferry some 500,000 people to and from work every day.  Still, half a million people is a tight load, BART spokesman Linton Johnson says apologetically.  Therefore, they have a clever plan.  And that’s to turn the average BART rider upside down and shake the dimes and pennies from his pockets.

Trains that run from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. are particularly overburdened.  If the appetizing idea of journeying to work with your face in someone’s armpit doesn’t particularly appeal to you, BART planners have a solution.  They think that increasing prices during peak hours will encourage people to take the subways at later times, or alter their travel itineraries to save money, thereby diffusing ridership across a broader time frame.  Voila!  Problem solved.

Or not.  What about people who start work at the ungodly hour of eight every morning and therefore don’t have the ability to take a later train?

Still, officials say the extra monies could go towards buying more trains, adding doors to existing trains to facilitate passenger movement, or even constructing a whole new transbay underwater tube — long-term fixes compared with the haphazard leak plugging that a price hike would be.

Of course, this is all talk.  The study won’t be completed till next spring, and it’ll be up to the BART board of directors to make the final decision.

Image Source: heather under Creative Commons
BART considers higher fares for peak hours [SF Chron]


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