March 25, 2005

PUBLIC HEARING SET TO DISCUSS PROPOSAL TO

INCREASE REGIONAL GOLDEN GATE TRANSIT FARES BY 5%

On Friday, March 25, 2005, the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District), authorized the setting of a public hearing on Thursday, April 21, 2005, at 9:30 am in the Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Toll Plaza to receive public comment on a proposed 5% regional transit fare increase effective July 1, 2005, to meet operating expenses for Fiscal Year 2006.

The proposed 5% fare increase is estimated to generate about $600,000 added revenue. A one to two percent ridership loss could result from the fare increase and has been factored into the revenue generation estimate.

The staff report on this proposal will available online or may be obtained from the Secretary of the District, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, P.O. Box 9000, Presidio Station, San Francisco, CA, 94129-0601, or TDD California Relay Service, 800-735-2929.


Public comments will be received at the hearing or may be presented in writing to: Secretary of the District, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, P.O. Box 9000, Presidio Station, San Francisco, CA, 94129-0601. Comments may also be sent by e-mail to publichearing@goldengate.org . Written comments should be received by April 21, 2005.

The District has been facing a financial emergency since 2002 when its 5-year projected shortfall was $454 million. Through a number of strategies to reduce costs (e.g. downsizing the organization by 20% and reducing bus service by 22%) and increase revenues (e.g. raising bridge tolls in 2002 and annual transit fare increases) that shortfall has been reduced significantly to $108 million. Strategies to reduce this remaining shortfall are currently being evaluated and include continuing past practice of annually increasing transit fares to meet operating expenses. An increase of 5% is proposed in light of the following:

1. Financial Need: The current estimate of next year’s (FY 2006) budget shortfall is $8 million and $108 million over 5 years.
2. Higher Transit Costs: Cost inflation rises each year.
3. Low Fare Recovery: Transit ridership remains depressed due to continued economic downturn that has delayed job formation and reduced overall travel. Current transit fare recovery is at 27% (22% for bus and 40% for ferry) and will fall further next year due to inflation factors without a fare adjustment
4. Delay to Development of Comprehensive Transit Fare Program: Staff continues to work on changes to the fare structure to improve customer experience and reduce administrative costs with TransLink implementation scheduled for the beginning of 2006. It would be premature to attempt to phase in elements of the new comprehensive fare program for a July 1, 2005, fare increase.

NOTE: The proposed transit fare increase is for intercounty travel only and not applicable to local travel. Local transit fares are set by the Marin County Transit District, which is not considering a fare increase at this time.

District's Strategic Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability