A Better Future for Bay Area Transit

Nine ways to deliver better transit service, control costs and attract more riders
SPUR Memorandum
March 8, 2012

By 2035, the Bay Area's 27 transit operators will face a combined $17 billion capital deficit and an $8 billion operating deficit. The costs of running these systems have increased far faster than inflation, even as ridership on some bus systems has declined. Unless there are changes to costs and revenues, and corresponding improvements in service, the viability of transit in the Bay Area is at risk. Our region cannot remain economically competitive, nor meet its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, without a more efficient and cost-effective transit system.

Recognizing this looming crisis, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the regional agency that funds transportation — launched the Transit Sustainability Project (TSP) to identify policies that control costs, improve service and increase ridership. This discusson paper reviews the TSP's key findings and recommends nine strategies to reach these goals.

About the Authors: 

Developed, debated and reviewed by SPUR’s Transportation Policy Board.

Staff lead: Egon Terplan