March 6, 2013

AC Transit balances budget

For the second consecutive year, Oakland, Calif.-based AC Transit is on track to end the 2012-13 Fiscal Year with a balanced budget, resulting from a series of new initiatives and performance strategies.

The ongoing recovery of the local economy has led to a more stable, reliable stream of subsidies primarily from sales and parcel taxes. But, new performance and management strategies have taken hold over the past year, cutting expenses, boosting workforce efficiency and winning approval from the AC Transit board of directors.

Key among the budgetary success has been the hiring and training of dozens of new bus operators. By increasing the availability of operators, the agency simultaneously enhanced its on-time performance while reducing the need for costly overtime.

Last year, the agency’s budget was balanced with deft but austere adjustments that included layoffs, service reductions and the closing of the Richmond bus yard. This year, balancing the agency’s $314 operating budget has been largely the product of new management techniques.

“Our focus now is on a variety of new initiatives to improve efficiency as way to both upgrade our customer service and lower our expenses,” said GM David Armijo. “As an example, we are buying new, better-performing buses — phasing out older, less reliable vehicles that routinely require expensive repairs.”

In addition:

  • Operating revenues have been slightly higher that projected.
  • Operating expenses have been slightly lower than projected.
  • Subsidies overall, were slightly more than originally budgeted.
  • Property taxes are expected to provide increased funding.
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