Riders board a new BART train car on the Antioch line at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Riders board a new BART train car on the Antioch line at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

BART fares going up in January

BART fares are going up in January, but not for everyone.

While many commuters will see the cost of a BART trip rise 5.4 percent, or roughly a forty-cent hike between Antioch and San Francisco’s Montgomery Station, for instance, low-income riders may actually get some relief.

BART is taking part in a year-long means-based fare discount pilot program sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Other agencies are also taking part, including Golden Gate Transit (including their ferries), Caltrain and Muni.

The fare hike also comes at a time when BART riders are asking for more safety services amid high-profile assaults including a stabbing death aboard a BART train. The BART Board of Directors shelved a plan to fund unarmed ambassadors earlier this year.

Funding from the fare increase will go to capital needs, according to BART, including new rail cars and a new train control system to provide more frequent service.

Earlier this year BART committed to expanding its police force, and BART General Manager Bob Powers also authorized more police overtime after the stabbing death in November.

While the low-income discount is indeed on the way, there’s a catch: That program isn’t slated to start until “early” 2020, according to BART and MTC, leaving open the question of whether low-income folks who are eligible will feel the crunch of a fare hike in January.

The fare hike is the last of four already-planned, biennial increases tied to inflation that were authorized in 2013 and will be in effect as of Jan. 1, according to BART. The BART board also authorized another series of inflation-based fare increases slated for 2022, 2024, and 2026.

As is already the case, paper tickets will see a 50-cent surcharge over Clipper cards.

BART’s means-based fare discount pilot will offer a 20 percent discount per trip to BART passengers who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and who are adults.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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