clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

San Francisco is envious of LA’s public transit system

New, 24 comments

You might not believe this, but ...

It's been a topsy turvy year, with a bonkers election cycle, copious amounts of celebrity deaths, San Francisco artists flocking to LA, and now in the most bizarre turn of events of 2016: It seems Los Angeles has another leg up over the Bay.

San Francisco is jealous of our public transportation system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles might usher in a public transportation renaissance, while San Francisco struggles to keep pace with 1972.

With the recent addition of the Expo and Gold Line expansions, Metro is now offering 105 miles worth of rail transportation, just two miles short of the Bay Area’s 107 miles of BART rail lines. Both Metro and BART are going to the ballot box this election to try to raise money for their respective transport systems, but each with very different goals in mind. While Metro is focusing on rapid expansion of service with Measure M, San Francisco is looking to pass Measure RR, a $3.5-billion bond measure to rebuild its existing BART rail system.

After 44 years in service, BART is in dire need of repair and drastically overcrowded. Water from the bay leaks into tunnels, the electrical system is shot, and the rail itself has even split during rush hour before, and those are the problems if you can even get on the train itself. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener tells the Times that he knows several people who now drive to work, "because they physically cannot get on to the train."

Randy Rentschler, spokesman for the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission actually told theTimes that many in the Bay Area "look with a lot of envy toward Los Angeles," reiterating, "I mean that seriously."

BART's sorry state might actually serve as a valuable political lesson for Metro. While new train lines look sleek when they open, it’s not long before age takes its toll. As San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener puts it, "we opened BART in 1972 and then proceeded to let it deteriorate and almost fall apart."

Metro’s proposed Measure M includes a dedicated revenue stream for transit upkeep. Over the next 40 years, an estimated $2.4 billion in Measure M funds would be earmarked for the "State of Good Repair" provision to pay for maintenance of Metro transportation systems.