Though trains will still stop at 9 p.m., and Sunday trains will remain rare, most BART lines will see far more trains on their tracks, starting this Monday.
The Champagne — or wherever it is they drink at BART headquarters during weekday business hours — is popping among BART’s top administrators, as Thursday set yet another new pandemic-era record in terms of daily ridership. As seen below, the BART system hit the 70,000-rider mark for the first time in the pandemic on Wednesday, and then yesterday, set yet another new pandemic record with 72,558 riders. This is consistent with a trend we’ve been seeing for the last month, where ridership has been ticking up several hundred, or even a couple thousand riders, with each passing day.
This past week, we’ve recorded a nice uptick in daily weekday ridership, from 69K riders to nearly 73K.— SFBART (@SFBART) June 4, 2021
Fri, 5/28: 69,537
Mon, 5/31 (Memorial Day): 33,706
Tue, 6/1: 69,077
Wed, 6/2: 70,461
Thur, 6/3: 72,558 (highest ridership day since start of pandemic)
And to meet what qualifies these days as “increased demand,” BART announced in a Thursday press release that starting this Monday, June 7, the system will “double the number of 15-minute frequencies on weekdays and offer more trips on Saturdays.” Sunday service will remain unaffected (i.e., rare).
Of course, “double the number of 15-minute frequencies” does not mean double the number of trains. But three lines are getting between seven and nine train trips added on weekdays, and wait times will certainly be reduced going both ways on those lines.
“BART will add 26 additional trips to the Monday-Friday schedule,” they said in the release. “The additional trips will serve our busiest lines: Yellow (Antioch-SFO), Green (Berryessa-Daly City), and Red (Richmond-Millbrae + SFO). Most of the added trips will be during the shoulders of the morning and evening commute periods where car occupancy data has demonstrated a need to increase service to help avoid crowding.”
But sorry, Dublin-Pleasanton riders, no new train rides for you. “30-minute frequencies will remain on the Blue line (Dublin/Pleasanton-Daly City) until the August 30, 2021 schedule change,” the announcement notes.
👋 Here is what average weekday ridership use to look like before COVID-19, you will see there is slow build to our busiest months (Sept and Oct):— SFBART (@SFBART) June 4, 2021
While increasing, these ridership numbers are still historically dismal. BART’s own data says that well over 400,000 daily riders were cruising on the system before the pandemic hit. But many industries' numbers have been dismal throughout the pandemic. We do look forward to Monday’s service increases, and the big “return to near pre-pandemic service starting August 30, 2021,” so we can get back to riding, and complaining about how filthy, slow, and scary our rides are.