At a Bay Area transportation summit held last week, BART General Manager Grace Crunican sounded, frankly, exhausted and overwhelmed regarding both the system's issues and the public perception of the beleaguered transit agency.
According to the SF Business Times, at the 7th annual National Transportation Finance Summit, which was held in SF Friday, Crunican laid BART's soul bare before attendees of a summit panel.
Citing the agency's ridership, Crunican said that passengers "have stopped hoping for a seat on this train and are just hoping to get on the next train" as "We are bursting at the seams."
And then there's the "$9.6 billion in deferred maintenance and improvements" BART needs, only $3.5 billion of which would be covered by a general obligation bond that may or may not receive voter approval, Crunican admitted. Her best solution to get the bond approved at the November ballot box? Squishy, to say the least, as she said all bond boosters can do is "to connect the vision and the results, and talk to folks."
But even that won't be easy, as, Crunican says, people are already predisposed to look askance at BART's messaging. "It comes up in the BART polls," Crunican says, presumably referring to polls like this one, which reported only 43 percent of voter support for the bond. (It needs two-thirds of the cumulative vote in SF, Contra Costa and part of Alameda County to pass.)
BART riders, Crunican says, tell management "'you're overpaid, overweight, can't manage your way out of a paper bag,'" making for a mighty tough sell in the voting booth.
Hmm, maybe that mysterious BART meat was a nice juicy cut of beef intended to
bribe "connect the vision and the results" for voters? Slogans could include "You've Got A Steak In BART" or "Vote For Our Bond, We'll Steak Out Your Seat." (I've got a million more where that came from, BART, you can have those two for free!)