Robert Raburn has delivered for BART riders and the people of Alameda County.
“With Measure RR, we’re growing the Bay Area’s workforce as we rebuild BART. At my urging, BART’s Office of Civil Rights has launched an extensive public outreach campaign to inform local small business owners about opportunities to partner with BART on Measure RR contracts. I’m committed to engaging the public to make sure this is done right.” – BART Director Robert Raburn
BART 2.0—Expanding the Fleet and Creating a Better Rider Experience
- Measure RR: Director Raburn led the efforts to pass Measure RR in 2016, a $3.5 billion BART modernization bond that is delivering a better system to all BART riders. Fully 90% of the funds are allocated to rebuilding BART to insure your trip on our system of tracks, interlockings, power substations, escalators and elevators is safe and reliable.
- New Train Cars: As the 775 new cars come online, BART will finally have enough cars to run longer trains and reduce overcrowding. First, all transbay trains will be 10-cars during the peak commute period. As more cars arrive, and Measure RR delivers a modern train control system, BART will be able to increase the frequency of service and offer more comfort and passenger capacity.
- Quieter Trains: Passengers and BART’s neighbors can appreciate that Director Raburn insisted on a new rail/wheel interface that will make them much quieter. This improvement will also save BART money through reduced wear and track maintenance.
Transforming BART Stations into Vibrant and Green Urban Centers
- Transit Oriented Housing: In 2016 Director Raburn successfully championed BART’s Transit Oriented Development Policy to address the jobs and housing imbalance that forces much of the Bay Area’s workforce to live far from their jobs. The policy envisions 20,000 new housing units on BART property, 35% of which will be affordable. Many projects are now underway to combat the housing crisis.
- Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities: Director Raburn worked with leaders in Sacramento to implement a statewide Cap-and-Trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, after state leaders visited the MacArthur Village construction site in 2014, their statewide proposal directed 20% of revenue to focus on the development of affordable homes near transit. Today, 875 units are underway or already occupied at MacArthur Village.
- Bike Infrastructure: A longtime bike advocate, Director Raburn promoted a BART Access policy in 2016, ensuring that walking and biking are prioritized and community partnerships established to provide safe access to BART stations. There are now secure lockers installed at all East Bay stations. The recent dedication of BART’s 7th Bike Station puts BART in the forefront of transit operators in the U.S. His leadership resulted in BART’s landmark Bikes on Board policy that reduces burdensome restrictions on bike travelers while respecting the comfort of all riders.
- Greening BART: Director Raburn established an Environment/Sustainability Committee in 2014. The guidance paid off in December 2017 when the Board approved a landmark commitment to renewable energy. Wind, solar and small hydropower will supply 90% of BART’s electrical power in just a few short years, far ahead of state clean energy goals. Measure RR and the new train cars are also contributing to a much more sustainable and energy efficient system than was possible when BART opened in 1972.
Safety for All Riders
- Earthquake Safety: Director Raburn led the effort to make sure BART has an early earthquake warning system, which would prevent life-threatening derailments if “the big one” strikes.
- More Frequent Patrols: BART is hiring 6 new Community Service Officers and working to fill 38 vacant police officer positions to keep all riders safe and increase patrols. Their training includes a focus on harm reduction, diversion, and compassionate access to city, county, and state services for at-risk individuals.
- Proof-of-Payment: Paying passengers are rarely a threat to others. Director Raburn supported the ordinance requiring passengers, starting in 2018, to show officers a valid ticket upon request. Strict rules with civilian oversight are in place to prevent discriminatory enforcement.
- New System Cameras: Security cameras are now active in all trains and have been successfully used to charge offenders.
- Attention to Details: Director Raburn supported an event parking fee at the Coliseum BART Station to fund new security fencing around the parking lot. The fence and game day patrols have directly led to a reduction in auto burglary and theft.
Workforce Development and Job Creation Here in the Bay Area
- Helping Local Small Businesses Compete for BART Contracts: At Director Raburn’s urging, BART’s Office of Civil Rights is hosting a series of public information campaigns to spread the word about contracts available to local businesses. Minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses are strongly encouraged to participate. As part of this work, the Local Small Business Verification Program was established to help streamline access to Measure RR contracts. This helps BART investments re-circulate in our community.
- A Pipeline to Good Transit Jobs for Bay Area Students: Director Raburn successfully lobbied for a $750,000 Federal Transit Administration grant to fund BART’s Transit Career Ladders Training Program. It’s focused on helping local Bay Area workers find good-paying jobs in transit. Seven junior colleges are participating in the training, creating a direct pipeline to labor apprenticeships and a rewarding career.
- More Internship Opportunities: Director Raburn successfully encouraged BART staff to establish a robust internship program for dozens of high school and junior college students. They work in multiple BART departments and participate in a Career Readiness Workshop curriculum that includes professional skills like computing, clear communications, leadership training, personal presentation, public speaking, and networking.
- Keeping It Local with the Oakland Airport Connector: During the Oakland Airport Connector’s construction, more than 70% of jobs went to BART district residents, and almost 30% went to Oakland residents. This exceeded the project’s local-hire agreement.
- Low Interest Measure RR Bonds: Director Raburn promoted BART’s Green Bond financing for Measure RR. Enthusiastic local investors helped BART get 3.47% interest rates, much lower than the 5% rates promised to voters. Again, on the eve of the new federal income tax changes, BART offered Green Bonds to refinance several previously existing bonds and succeeded in saving BART riders and taxpayers about $22 million dollars in the years ahead.
- Listening to Advice: BART’s newest volunteer advisory body is the Measure RR Oversight Committee. Director Raburn regularly attends the meetings of all nine of BART’s formal citizen advisory groups. He works to elevate the stature of the groups so that their priorities are heard by BART staff and other members of the BART Board. You are invited to participate and learn more at http://www.bart.gov/about/bod/advisory.
- Savings through Rail Wheel/Track Interface: The wear pattern that contributes to the “wheel squeal” on BART trains is being resolved by a new tapered wheel profile and with Measure RR funds replacing worn rails. As a result, BART’s rail grinding is expected to go from an annual maintenance schedule to perhaps every four years. With 112 mile of track, this will save the system millions of dollars in wear and maintenance costs each year while improving the experience of riders.
- Cutting Down on Costly Fare Evasion: Fare evasion is estimated to cost BART $25 million per year in lost passenger revenue. This forces paying passengers to carry a greater burden of BART costs, while fair evaders often show a lack of respect for public property and paying passengers. Modified gates, increased enforcement, and the Proof-of-Payment ordinance are intended by Director Raburn to reduce fare evasion. Consistent with Director Raburn’s commitment to civil rights and equal treatment, strict rules with civilian oversight are in place to prevent racial, homeless, or age profiling and other forms of discriminatory enforcement.
- Prioritizing Public Feedback: With every big change to BART policy, from major capital projects to changes in bike policy, Director Raburn has insisted on broad-based public outreach. During the Measure RR campaign, and now during the implementation phase, he has given more than 50 presentations and attended numerous community events and street fairs to hear from BART riders, taxpayers, employees, and service providers on what they think is best for the system.
BART Police Reforms
- Reforms: Following the tragic Oscar Grant shooting, which occurred before Director Raburn was elected, he actively led reforms to restore public confidence in BART.
- Oversight: With Director Raburn’s support and participation, BART established two police oversight groups: the BART Police Civilian Review Board and the Office of the Independent Police Auditor. Together, they investigate complaints and review policing policies. Their work includes monthly reports on police activity to allow the department, BART Board, and general public to identify and resolve any concerns related to safety or civil rights. Jurisdictions across the country view BART as a leader in police oversight.
- Exemplary Policing Model: BART’s Police Department has undergone a positive transformation and contributed best practices in building public trust to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. BART police were among the first to deploy body-worn cameras. They received high marks in an audit by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE). Now, Crisis Intervention Training is critical to compassionately address the growing challenges from homeless populations and those suffering from substance abuse.