By Bay City News Service
Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, BART riders will pay slightly higher train fares to help pay for new train cars and other projects, according to BART officials.
BART passengers will pay, on average, an extra 19 cents per ride to finance projects that BART officials say will ensure reliable, safe and clean train service for the Bay Area in the coming years.
The BART Board of Directors voted in February to continue BART's inflation-based fare increase program, in place since 2003.
The projects supported by the program will aim to replace and improve BART's "aging system." This includes purchasing Fleet of the Future train cars, a new train control system to improve reliability and to allow more trains to run more frequently, and the expansion of and improvements to the Hayward Maintenance Complex to serve the new fleet and support future service to Silicon Valley.
The inflation-based fare increase program means that predictable, but small changes to the prices are made, instead of larger increases with little notice, BART officials said.
The renewal of the program means that fare increases will continue every two years until 2020 and is expected to generate $325 million for the new programs.
"BART is required to come up with a portion of funding for many of our capital projects in order to qualify to receive extra money from other sources," BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. "BART must pay $800 million toward the cost of new rail cars -- this fare increase will help us achieve that goal."
The first increase will be 5.2 percent, according to BART officials.
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