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BART Marks 20th Month Of Ridership Increases

OAKLAND (KCBS) - One of the Bay Area's largest transit agencies is becoming even busier.  Bay Area Rapid Transit ridership was up nearly 7% in the latest fiscal quarter, compared to the same time period last year. That marks 20 consecutive months of growth in BART's ridership.

"When more people are working, more people are commuting," theorized transit agency spokesman Jim Allison. "Also the price of gasoline. We've had one increase in our fares over the last two-and-a-half years of 1.4%. You can't say the same about gas prices."

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

The increase in ridership is perhaps best described as a "good" problem for BART, said Allison, pointing out that there were 61 days in the last fiscal year when ridership topped 380,000.

"Station flow, the vertical circulation of people through the stations, is one of the biggest capacity issues," he acknowledged. "We have a finite number of cars so it's a challenge for us, but it's certainly a challenge we like to have."

The bottom line for BART is that its own bottom line depends largely on fares - for as much as 60% of its budget, in fact.

"BART is 40 years old now," Allison pointed out. "So we have to replace not just the train cars but many of the associated equipment, all the track equipment, that sort of thing."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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