The second Sunday of every month could be half-off fares for BART riders and serve one of two purposes: Lure more passengers on to the transit system and show riders they’re appreciated.
It is one of several ideas the BART board of directors is considering with what has been estimated as about $4.5 million for a passenger-appreciation package, paid for through unexpected state funds.
Other ideas include a 3 percent fare rollback for six months, a 5 percent rollback for three months, resurrecting 15-minute service on Sundays or employing station agents or other passenger interactions.
However, after a request to start narrowing the options so the board could submit a budget for the next fiscal year that starts July 1, directors still had a hard time agreeing on where to spend the money.
The passenger-appreciation package was inspired by a 6 percent fare increase and a $2.50 charge to and from San Francisco International Airport that were among solutions BART implemented last year to offset a $250 million deficit.
The perks were decided upon after the board decided riders needed to benefit most from the $4.5 million, instead of temporary bonuses or to prevent the reserve fund from crossing the red line, among other concerns.
The board talked about its options for about an hour, bouncing several ideas around, such as how to use the money to provide cleaner trains.
“I respect all the thoughts of my colleagues,” board President James Fang said. “Let us also remember that when we asked for the money, that was easy. It’s just very complicated to try to make these decisions. It’s very complicated.”
The monthly half-price Sunday idea was visited a few times, especially by Director Gail Murray, who liked the idea of it increasing
“It costs more for a family to take BART than to drive,” Murray said. “If we could make it competitive, they may finally decide that maybe BART’s a big deal.”