MEET DEBORA ALLEN, BART DIRECTOR

Experienced. Bold. Independent.

 

In 2016, I promised to bring common-sense leadership to the BART Board of Directors. I promised to focus on improving the personal safety of BART riders and workers. I promised to bring financial transparency and oversight to BART’s $2.4 billion annual budget while remaining politically independent, not beholden to special interest groups. I did that and more.

I knew when I began my first term in office that the nation’s fifth largest transit agency faced difficult challenges. I stepped up to tackle them with determination. Structural budget deficits, billions in capital funding shortfalls, and aging infrastructure plagued the system. Labor strikes, social equity concerns, plummeting rider satisfaction, and continuous board strife over spending priorities haunted the agency.

The pandemic and the resulting economic devastation from a 90% loss of ridership have only compounded these challenges. While I’ve managed to bring oversight and accountability to the agency during my first four years on the board, much work needs to be done to bring BART into the 21st century.

Unfortunately, urban directors who control the board majority continue to focus on misguided agendas, such as defunding the police and making excuses for fare-cheaters and others who create mayhem in the system. Some of them are the very people who helped recruit, fund and coach my opponent.

San Francisco politicians want to control the BART seats of Contra Costa County. We can't let them. We can’t give up our voice on the BART Board. We can’t stand by and watch one of the Bay Area’s most precious transit resources deteriorate to the point of being unusable.

With 25 years in executive-level management and financial positions, my focus is on BART’s financial health and the impacts that declining ridership and fading customer satisfaction have on the agency’s future. Now more than ever, we need strong financial leadership on the Board of Directors.

I would be honored to have your vote on November 3rd.

            Working for a Better BART!

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ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Common Sense for BART

 

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  • Pushed common-sense solutions to the rampant fare evasion problem that costs BART as much as $50 million a year. At my urging, BART agreed to replace fare gates, raise railings, enclose all elevators in the paid area, install new locking emergency gates, and enhance surveillance measures. All those measures are underway. BART police believe eliminating fare evaders will greatly improve rider safety by decreasing criminal behavior throughout the system. I project that the $90 million cost of fare gate replacement will be fully recaptured by BART within 7 years due to increased fare revenue and rider satisfaction and reduced costs of police service and cleaning costs.  
  • Supported upgrading an existing under-utilized classification of non-sworn Community Service Officers to patrol the trains in an enhanced role of customer service. This pilot program, which used existing police department resources, was ultimately re-named as Ambassadors and went into effect in early 2020. The results of this pilot program were released just last week.
  • Worked to expand police officer presence on trains and in stations by filling the 47 officer positions that were vacant when my term began and strongly advocating for a plan to hire an additional 19 new officers a year for five years.
  • Proposed a new ordinance that would prohibit all panhandling activity inside the fare gates, a common-sense proposal to improve the rider experience on trains that San Francisco directors opposed.
  • Stood up to other board members and their followers to oppose calls for de-funding and disarming the BART police department and replacing police officers with non-sworn civilian ambassadors sourced from local community based organizations for vulnerable populations.
  • Worked closely with all levels of BART Police Department on ideas for more cost efficient operation of the department and expediting the hiring processes.
  • Led the effort to create the first-ever independent Office of the BART Inspector General to address fraud, waste, and abuse. I continue to work closely with the IG to develop protocols and rules of transparency to ensure proper oversight of all BART operations.   

 

 

  • Led the effort to create a funding plan for repayment of BART's over $1 billion of unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities.
  • Served on key regional transportation boards as BART representative, including Capitol Corridor JPA, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee, CCTA Accessible Transportation Strategic Policy Advisory Committee, and the Pleasant Hill BART Leasing Authority.
  • Served as Chair of the BART Board Administration Committee and as a founding member and Vice-Chair of BART’s first Ad Hoc Audit Committee, working to develop a permanent committee to oversee the agency’s financial and performance audits.
  • Analyzed budgets in depth as we worked through the devastation of our revenue sources by the pandemic economic impacts. Exposed the true budget picture to the public that operating expenses went up by 6% year over year, in spite of an 88% loss in ridership.
  • Proposed fare gate replacement funding be prioritized with measure RR access money.
  • Led the critical review of financial reporting and internal processes with the goal of developing new ideas on improving efficiency and overall operations. 
  • Spent hundreds of hours in meetings with BART management and staff to understand everything BART.
  • Spent hundreds of hours with community groups and the public speaking about BART, its challenges, and its rebuilding efforts.

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  • Contact

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Paid for by Debora Allen for BART Director 2020. FPPC ID#1388000