Ridership on BART steadily climbed this week, as the agency's communications team announced Friday on Twitter, hitting a new high Thursday not seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
BART saw 64,070 riders Thursday, which represents 16% of pre-pandemic levels. That's still 84% below normal ridership, but it's a clear improvement over the 90+% drop in ridership seen through most of last year.
On Monday, ridership was at 59,814, and the number grew on each consecutive day. This may be explainable by several factors: a) Cinco de Mayo happened, b) the weather was pretty nice, and c) San Francisco entered the "Yellow" tier which meant a lot of bars opened up indoor seats on Thursday. Also, lots of people are now fully vaccinated who weren't just one or two weeks ago, and those numbers will only increase in the coming weeks.
"We are gearing up to bring back high quality service because we know that is what will get people back on the train," BART says. (As you may recall, ridership was already in a slump before the pandemic began, which was partly attributable to a general lack of safety and cleanliness.)
Ridership Watch:— SFBART (@SFBART) May 7, 2021
Thur: 64,070 (84% of pre-pandemic ridership and new high).
We are gearing up to bring back high quality service because we know that is what will get people back on the train.
A thread from your favorite transit comms team👇 pic.twitter.com/sJk4JKgxsU
BART says it will be adding 26 more trains to the daily schedule on June 15 as the state has pledged to open up more of the economy. And by August 30, they say, service will return to "near pre-pandemic levels" thanks to federal stimulus money.
"Several months of mandatory operator and station agent training are required [for this]," BART says in a tweet. "We opened the Berryessa extension [last June] without hiring so to scale back up, we need to hire/train more."
The comms team also apologizes for the fact that multiple station entrances are closed in various locations. They say they know this isn't very rider-friendly, but it allows them to keep things cleaner and safer at the open entrances for now. It's temporary, they say, and the entrances "will be reopened as ridership ticks up."
"We want you to know we are not holding back," they tweet. "The federal emergency relief money gives us the confidence to hire more workers and to get trains back into service and increase frequency on weekdays and weekends, because weekends will play a key role in recovery. So take the train."