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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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BART's employees are paid staggering amounts of overtime

Uploaded: Feb 28, 2023
A reader wrote me a thoughtful email commenting about my blog about BART stopping its capital projects amid declining ridership, dismal finances once the federal money dries up and no clear understanding of whether downtown San Francisco will survive as a job center.
Notably, the San Francisco Chronicle reported over the weekend the results of a city study that showed the loss of almost 150,000 daily office workers since the pandemic lockdown. Prior to the shutdown, there were about 245,000 such jobs in the downtown. The study estimates that workers spent an average of $168 per week in businesses serving the area. That equates to $1.2 billion per year.
BART ridership reflects that loss. The reader noted BART’s operating costs are staggering. It’s unionized wall-to-wall and some of the salaries are mind-boggling. He included a link to the Transparent California website that includes lists of compensation for public officials.
BART paid one electrical foreworker a base salary of $115k that was supplemented by almost $300k in overtime plus additional compensation resulting in $466k in 2021. A BART police officer received a $124k base salary and made $168k in overtime. He made more than the police chief who is paid about $311k. Fifteen non-management employees made more than $300k with the overtime. That doesn’t include generous benefits that ran from a low of $35k to $115k.
The BART list is filled with huge overtime costs to say noting of generous base salaries. It’s clearly a huge management issue to allow such excessive overtime that salaries are doubled or more. You wonder just what the well-compensated managers are “managing?” It’s clearly not the overtime pay. The reader observed that if BART were a private enterprise, it would be reducing staff and looking to cut expenses—instead it’s looking for more taxpayer money.
My reader also noted that many suburban folks---he grew up in and lives in the San Ramon Valley—now avoid taking BART or even going to San Francisco. The combination of the dirty trains, filth on the streets, drug use and dealing and concern for safety—both downtown and on the trains—also is an issue. He also cited the gate-crashers who rarely are caught so some homeless people ride the trains all day.
Speaking personally, my adult daughter and I have a Christmas tradition of lunch at the Rotunda restaurant overlooking Union Square that’s more than 20 years old.
Typically, we’d take BART from one of the Pleasanton stations. The last two years we have instead, stayed local and enjoyed it every bit as much. The stats show we’re not the only ones.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Jensen Tract,
on Feb 28, 2023 at 10:37 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Keep your tradition going.

Drive a car to the hotel, tip ($) everyone you encounter serving you with a smile of appreciation on your face, enjoy your traditional meal, then drive home when you're ready. The good vibes sent out into the cosmos, changes the world for the better.

Dr. Bruce Harold Lipton (born October 21, 1944) is an American developmental biologist noted for his views on epigenetics.

Dr. Lipton says "repetition" is needed because we usually do not feel worthy...Think as though, what you want has already happened... Make good vibes often and joyously because you and your loved owns deserve it... and it transforms the world accordingly.

.... NAMASTE... Rich Buckley

Posted by D, a resident of Danville,
on Mar 1, 2023 at 7:01 am

D is a registered user.

Tim your article analysis on the many problems with BART is absolutely correct. I use to ride BART for work during the week, and occasionally on the weekend to dinner or events in the city. I noticed several years ago that BART was really declining, with more crime, homeless people, filthy seats, no police presence, and yet prices including parking kept greatly increasing. I have not been on BART since the pandemic hit and never will ride it again.

Imagine running a business where you keep losing clients and customers, and yet your reaction is to drastically raise your prices and offer a less desirable product. Meanwhile, your public union employees keep "negotiating" large raises and "management" allows employees to earn record amounts of overtime. Sound like a good business plan? BART directors, instead of dealing with all the problems, just keep begging for politicians to subsidize this failing business plan with OUR tax dollars.

I also think the invention of ride shares, Uber, Lift, etc. has given customers a safer, cleaner, better option for weekend dinners or events in the city.

Posted by Pierce Halstrom, a resident of Danville,
on Mar 1, 2023 at 8:30 am

Pierce Halstrom is a registered user.

> "I noticed several years ago that BART was really declining, with more crime, homeless people, filthy seats, no police presence, and yet prices including parking kept greatly increasing. I have not been on BART since the pandemic hit and never will ride it again."

Simple solution...(1) have the BART police onboard & serving a two-fold function (as a conductor & law enforcement officer), (2) issue a sanitary seat cover upon purchasing a ticket (the ones hopping the turnstiles will not have one & can easily be identified by the onboard BART police), and (3) hire onboard cleaning crews (like they do in hospitals) to maintain the BART cars while they are stopped or not in service.

Lastly, a public service advertisement featuring a smiling Governor Newsom riding BART & conversing with other passengers would lend further credibility to the BART riding experience.

Posted by Maskedman, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 2, 2023 at 8:55 am

Maskedman is a registered user.

There is a simple solution to the BART problems. Contract out the entire operation to a private corporation.

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