Advocates for ‘seamless’ transit are calling on California state leaders to tie a consolidation study to a one-time injection of funding into the Bay Area’s transit systems.
In an op-ed for Streetsblog San Francisco, Ian Griffiths argues for the consolidation of the Bay Area’s multiple transit agencies, which face significant funding shortages and projected service cuts.
Griffiths acknowledges the need for immediate relief: “Legislators must provide significant one-time funding for transit in the upcoming budget to avert service cuts if they are serious about their commitment to transit, equity, and fighting climate change.”
But “If there was ever a time to take a hard look at agency consolidations – combining some of our 27 agencies to both improve decision-making, capacity, effectiveness, and efficiency – it is now.”
Griffiths notes that riders have been calling for a seamless regional system. Advocacy group Seamless Bay Area argues that “Bay Area Transit needs a Regional Network Manager entity with systemwide accountability for public transit – capable of planning and running transit as one network.” Consolidating, for example, BART and Caltrain “would enable speedier implementation of integrated service and fares between the two systems (enabling quicker ridership regrowth), improved capital project planning, faster project delivery, and improved agency capacity.”
Griffiths concludes by pointing out that consolidating the region’s transit requires state action. “As the state considers one-time funding for transit operations in this year’s budget, legislators can help support a seamless transit system by calling for a consolidation study to be completed over the next year that identifies key consolidation options, benefits, and costs for the legislature to consider implementing.”
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