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BART Considers Ways To Spend Budget Surplus

OAKLAND (KCBS) - It's not a bad position for a transit system to be in - Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are talking about what to do with a budget surplus estimated to be between $10 and $28 million.

KCBS' Bob Melrose Reports:

The BART Board of Directors is entertaining a number of ideas, many designed to address the cleanliness of trains and train stations.

One other idea that seems to be generating lots of speed, though, is extending Friday night service by one hour.

It was quickly explained, however, that nothing would happen right away.

"We're still months and months away from even establishing this," offered BART chief spokesperson Linton Johnson. "The board has to approve a budget and that doesn't happen usually until the end of May."

Ultimately, though, Johnson said the project may be given the green light for a half-year trial - at a cost of $1.2 million.

"If the board were to approve this I'm sure the board president will be behind it because it was his initiative, but if they should choose to use some of the unmarked money to be able to try this out and see if the public really enjoys it or if they just say that they want it, but don't actually use it, we'll see after six months," Johnson explained.

He warned that there would potentially be tradeoffs for the increase in Friday night service - namely, Saturday service would start an hour later, at 7:00 a.m.

He also stressed that many factors needed to fall into place in order for the proposal to get up and running.

"Now, if we were to do that, obviously there are going to be impacts on the rest of the system as well as the people who feed customers into the BART system, the other transit operators," said Johnson. "So we've got to be able to work with them in that paradigm."

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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