The United States Congress is currently working on a bill to provide relief to workers and business and to help stimulate the US economy. Jurisdictions across the Bay Area normally collect $85 million in fare revenue per month, the vast majority of which is expected to be lost in the foreseeable future. Transit agencies in California also rely very heavily on sales tax revenues, which are expected to see a very steep decline; Bay Area public transit agencies could see a loss of sales tax revenue as large as $300 million just this fiscal year (until June 30th).
We are asking our federal government to support funding for Bay Area public transit operators during this time of critical need.
Please take urgent action NOW:
- Sign the petition below.
- Call and email your representative
- Call and email Senators Feinstein and Harris:
Background for your comments to our representatives in DC.
COVID-19 represents a threat to the health and wellbeing of all Americans, particularly our vulnerable and elderly neighbors. Our public health interventions to slow the spread of infections are necessary and welcome. Unfortunately, these same precautions, such as social distancing and sheltering in place, threaten the existence of public transit systems in the Bay Area that continue to function, as they are considered essential services that are transporting nurses, social service workers, grocery store employees, and the people who keep our society running during these trying times.
On March 17, 2020, the “shelter in place” order began in nearly every county in the Bay Area. This order assumes that public transit will still be available for those requiring “Essential Travel,” which includes critical business and government functions. This means that even during the most extreme social distancing measures, our region needs safe, functioning and reliable public transit.
Given our current conditions, that is not possible without additional funding.
Every public transit agency is seeing a precipitous drops in ridership and revenue:
- BART saw a 71% drop in ridership on Monday (3/16), which will see BART lose over $7 million per week just from fares.
- Muni averaged approximately 35-50% drop in ridership last week and $1 million in revenue lost
- Caltrain has seen a 90% drop in ticket sales, correlating with the drop in ridership which will cost the agency between $1.6 and $1.8 million per week.
- AC Transit, VTA, and other agencies have seen similar drops
With the “shelter in place” order now mandating that almost everyone stay home, this week and the following weeks are expected to see even lower ridership and more fare revenue lost.
Transit operators have no idea how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, or even how long shelter in place orders will remain in effect.
As my representative in Congress/Senate, I urge you to support public transit, its riders and operators with emergency fiscal stimulus as quickly as possible.