Lawda mercy, BART's board of directors today will be discussing a proposal to test out "late-night" train service one extra hour of service actually, only on Fridays come September, as part of a "demonstration project." The last similar late-night test that didn't have to do with a bridge closure, New Year's, or an earthquake came a full fourteen years ago, when Clinton was President. During that three-month 1993 test, "only about 200 people took the trains" each late night, according to the Chronicle. That number is expected to be closer to 2,500 now. But hear ye, hear ye! You better ride these damn late-night trains or BART will stop running them, because they honestly believe there isn't enough of a demand.
The upside here is that the many people who complain about BART not running late enough to get them home after partying will get one whole extra hour to party, as the trains will leave their end-point stations one hour later, at 1 a.m. (meaning, we think, that the last eastbound trains will leave Mission and 16th sometime around 1:20/1:30, which, really folks, isn't all that late).
The downside, say some BART officials, is that they need all the maintenance time they can get for track work, and right now they only have 14 hours a week, with the bulk of that on weekend nights. How does a place like New York City manage to run trains all night and do track work? Well, track work is a nightmare, and there are a lot of re-routed or screwed up routes, that's how, but they get through it somehow. Another downside: They're going to shift the Saturday trains an hour later, and BART is very concerned about these poor people who ride BART at 6 a.m. on Saturday -- "who they are and how they would be affected."
Though there's some talk that this six-month test could ultimately lead to round-the-clock service, all this hemming and hawing makes a 24-hour BART system sound like a pipe-dream. But we'll take what we can get.
In other important BART news, BART director Robert Raburn still wants to kill that Oakland airport connector project, despite them having spent $64 million in construction costs already. He says the money would be better spent replacing their 30-year-old fleet of train cars. We can't argue with him there.