The only people riding BART these days, for the most part, are essential workers like grocery store clerks and healthcare personnel, and they go to work earlier than most of us.
BART has reduced its schedule to just two trains per hour given the massive drop in ridership, but as the Chronicle reports today, there is still a morning rush hour. It's happening now between 5:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. which is when shift changes are happening at hospitals and just before most grocery stores open.
After a 90-percent drop in ridership from BART's usual 400,000 riders per day, there are now around 30,000 people riding the trains every weekday, some of them running necessary errands but many of them just getting to and from work. Most, these days, are wearing face masks, but the Chronicle found at least one guy at Powell Station who wasn't — and who seemed to just be running a frivolous errand to get out of the house.
BART even produced a little video about healthcare workers riding BART in the pandemic — a narrated slideshow of sorts. In it, Nina, a healthcare worker from Redwood City, says she takes BART every day to and from work in Oakland. "I really like it that BART is still running and still with 10[-car] trains and not crowded. They don't try to cram us into one train so we can keep social distancing."
Last week, SFist spoke with a nurse who lives and works in San Francisco, Blake Young, who has had a less easy time getting to and from work at UCSF Parnassus due to the limited Muni schedule and unreliability of buses. He reported having to use rideshare vehicles more often than not, and once waiting an hour for a N-Judah shuttle to arrive.
As SFMTA transit chief Jeffrey Tumlin explains to the Chronicle, he and his team are monitoring crowd surges on the remaining bus lines and trying to shift service accordingly. But only 17 bus lines — including replacement shuttles for Metro trains that are not running — are currently in operation as many Muni workers are staying home.