BART train fares will increase 1.4 percent July 1 -- adding an extra nickel or dime to many trips, nothing to the shortest trips, and 15 cents to the longest ones.
As BART crews in West Oakland scrambled to restore transbay service that was cut off after a fire damaged BART equipment, the agency's board voted 8-1 to approve the modest fare increase Thursday along with its operating budget, which is 8 percent larger than last year's. Tom Radulovich, of San Francisco, was the lone dissenter.
The board opted to stick with a past practice of letting fares increase automatically every two years by a formula linked to the inflation rate. The fare for the longest trip on BART -- from Pittsburg-Bay Point to San Francisco Airport -- will increase by 15 cents to $11.05.
Directors talked little about fares and more about the $673 million operating budget, which has money to add some 56 workers and operate direct service from San Francisco to Richmond an hour later on weeknights.
The last Richmond-bound trains from San Francisco now leave about 7 p.m., but that will be extended until 8 p.m., making service more convenient for evening commuters returning home to Berkeley and West Contra Costa County stations on the Richmond line. Once the Richmond line closes for the night, commuters must transfer to another line to reach their destinations.
The budget also has funds to begin late night bus service from San Francisco stations to some East Bay stations after train service closes at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
BART board members said the transit system is in good financial health, but still faces a big challenge in finding funds to replace its aging train car fleet.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.