Come on, a lousy million? some quick math suggests they might want to look at potential savings other than cutting the already minimal service levels. The average BART fare is around $2.75, so $1 million is roughly 363,636 trips. That means if the service discourages people from making that many trips (or 181,818 round trips) the savings will be a wash. If you think that's unlikely, since 181,000 is a lot of people, remember that's around 3% of the 100million plus trips per year that BART handles. Coupled with rock-bottom gas prices and increases in the cost to park at a suburban BART lot, it's not unthinkable to lose that many choice riders over the course of the year.
In addition, it's an unnecessary burden on those of us who depend on BART and other public transit to move around the region.
To be clear, the BART directors are only the proximate villains here. The ultimate responsibility is on Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Republicans who have been strangling the flow of money to transit for years. BART has been asked to do more with less for some time now. But reducing service and raising fares (doing less for more, from the standpoint of riders) is not a real solution. It creates a positive feedback look of lower ridership, lower revenue, and more cuts down the road.
While looking up some info about BART ridership, I found this interesting analysis from last year. I don't think this guy has the complete answer, and I'm opposed to any change to the fare structure that benefits long-ride suburban and exurban commuters over the urban core of the system (which actually generates revenue). One gem to consider is that the BART director discussed in the post, Joel Keller, represents a district with only one station in it.
It's clear that the BART board ought to be restructured in some way to allow for proportional representation of the district constituents. Tom Radulovich, Carole Ward Allen and Lynette Sweet, who represent the core of the BART system with the majority of riders, hold a tiny minority on the 9-member board. So it comes at no surprise that the vast majority of capital investment goes to cost-negative expansions of the system to the far reaches of the region. BART to San Jose will cost $6 billion with a B, and maybe result in 100,000 new riders in 2030 (although this prediction is highly suspect). How many riders would join the system if that money was spent on an infill station at 30th and Mission or on an extension down Geary?
BART's constant budget pain is hurting the system in the long run, and it's being made worse by wrongheaded decisions to cut service and expand the system to lower-density regions.
And if you wonder why a blog about "pedestrianism" spends so much time bellyaching about transit, read this great piece by the Santa Rosa CityBus. The North Bay seems like an unlikely source for such transportation wisdom, but they really hit the nail on the head.