Thinking that September 1st would be when it would be rolling out fuller, pre-pandemic levels of train service, BART announced a few months ago that it would be offering 50% off all fares for the month of September.

The trains actually ramped up to full service a month ago, but the half-off deal is still good, and it begins today — but only for Clipper users. If you already have a discounted Clipper account, like Youth, Senior, RTC, Clipper Start, or the Gator Pass, the 50% off deal still applies.

The discount will be applied when using both the Clipper app (or Clipper through Apple/Android Wallet), or a physical Clipper card, and it will be automatically calculated when going through the fare gates.

The fare schedules posted on vending machines won't be changed, but big decals will be placed on them announcing the 50% discount.

"BART is extending the discount to welcome riders back to the system and to thank those who have continued to ride throughout the pandemic," the agency says in a statement. They add that as of September 1, "the various transit agencies that connect with BART will have new schedules in place that offer improved connections between systems," and some of those agencies are offering special discounts this month as well. Learn more about that here.

As of last month, BART is back in service from 5 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Ridership continues to return on the BART system, but according to the latest data from August, even on the busiest days, ridership is around 40% of pre-pandemic baseline levels. Some days it's still around 20% of the former baseline. If you're concerned about crowding and want to travel aboard the least crowded trains, BART is tracking crowding on all its lines here.

Masks are required on trains and in stations, and BART is also tracking mask compliance — compliance has reportedly been between 95% and 98% over the past two months.

Photo: Giorgio Trovato