The Late Night Transportation Working Group, which consists of 29 representatives for late-night businesses, workers, tourism, and transportation operators, is recommending an overhaul and expansion of overnight bus services while noting that that the Bay Area needs a second Transbay Tube.
The Chronicle reports that the committee will deliver a 26-page report to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee encouraging agencies to tackle late-night rail service, expand the Bay Area Bike Share program, and encourage private businesses to help fund improved late-night transit generally.
While the city’s late-night economy booms with 60,000 workers according to an estimate from the working group, services like BART, Muni Metro, and Caltrain lag behind. Those transit options close between midnight and 1 a.m. while infrequent bus services pick up the slack. "San Francisco doesn’t shut down once it gets dark, and our transportation system shouldn’t either,” said Supervisor Wiener in a press release.
Last month, Mayor Lee expressed his support for a second tube, adding that any plan would need funding from Congress. And according to the SF Business Times, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has said that "she would reserve full support until BART knew what the economic tradeoffs were."
“Late-night bus service is very hit-and-miss,” Wiener, who launched the investigation into late-night transit and will announce his own late-night transit plan today, tells the Chron. “It’s not frequent enough, it’s not reliable enough, and it’s not fast enough. And there are gaps in the city — areas that don’t have service.”
Like the Working Group, he's got his eye on late-night BART. “That is the Holy Grail, getting late-night service on BART,” Wiener said. “That issue is not ever going to be solved until we get a second Transbay Tube.”
BART board members like Nick Josefowitz, who basically ran on late-night transit, are still pushing for the cause. However, other BART board officials have noted that the current single-track system, plus financial constraints, might be insurmountable. Hence, it would seem, the second tube. BART, which needs around $20 billion of capital investment over the next decade for projects like new trains and train control systems, currently holds about $14 billion in available funding.
“This isn’t just about partiers getting home late at night,” Wiener has said. “It’s become more and more apparent that there is a large number of workers getting off work late.”
Theoretically a second tube could halve the number of commuters who currently have to come through Embarcadero Station, instead whisking them directly to and from jobs in SoMa and the southern half of the city. Meanwhile, an included transit link to the Sunset and Richmond Districts could be on the table.
You can now read the full report, titled "The Other 9-to-5," here.