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Bay Area Congestion Worsens As More Cars Hit The Road

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- San Francisco Bay Area commuters have a lot of transit options available -- trains, trolleys, BART, buses, bikes, scooters and even electric scooters -- yet the number of cars on the road just keeps rising.

Despite every type of way to get around imaginable, the overall number of cars just keeps rising, according to new DMV registration data.

Over 34,500 cars were added to the Bay Area DMV registration rolls in 2016. San Mateo County led the pack.

San Mateo Supervisor Davie Cenepa says he knows why.

"It's the American dream...I mean it's hard to get people out of their cars," Cenepa said.

Randy Rentschler with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said, "Multiple car ownership is up as well, and also, look, people are buying trucks not cars in California. Half of the new car sales are trucks, not cars."

Indeed, DMV rolls show 28,626 trucks were added to the road between 2014 and 2017.

Rentschler said, "People are just buying big rigs."

Two notable exceptions to the trend are Marin and San Francisco counties, both of which saw a drop in car registrations last year.

San Francisco clocked in with over 1,800 fewer car registrations.

But San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell says it's still not enough.

"Our roads are more congested than they have ever been," Farrell said.

Meanwhile, Muni ridership is flat, as people continue to get into cars. Only now, those cars are Ubers and Lyfts, which saw a 4 percent rise in ridership last year.

Farrell said, "We're going to be add over 50 new light rail vehicles…Look, we can never do it fast enough."

By the way, Mayor Farrell drove to work on the morning KPIX 5 spoke with him.

KPIX 5 asked him why did he drive to work?

Farrell said, "I had my security team with me and that begs certain behaviors."

The mayor, and Bay Area residents, are doing what the rest of the nation is doing: staying in their cars.

Thanks to the tolls and taxes that drivers are paying, more money goes to buses, cable cars and other transit infrastructure.

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