With Bay to Breakers starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, BART and Caltrain are both firing up special fleets of early morning trains for the occasion so “runners” from all over the Bay Area can be at the starting line in time for the race.
This coming Sunday will be the 111th anniversary running of the Bay to Breakers, and thankfully they no longer do that godawful 7 a.m. start time they utilized back in the early 2010’s, a move that was surely meant to deter drunks. But there are still early-morning complications, even now that the race has returned to its traditional 8 a.m. start time. Namely, BART doesn’t even start running til 8 a.m. on a Sunday these days, so people riding BART to the race would not possibly arrive on time.
But never fear, drunken runners. The Bay Area News Group reports that BART will run early trains for Bay to Breakers, though by early, we mean early.
BART to offer special, early morning service for Bay to Breakers race https://t.co/cBJndyAVAX— Mercury News (@mercnews) May 14, 2023
“BART will provide four trains with limited stops before regular BART service begins for the Bay to Breakers event on Sunday, May 21, 2023,” the transit agency says in a press release. “The special service will get race participants to Embarcadero around 7am.”
As seen above, you only have one early train option Sunday morning (unless you’re coming from West Oakland or MacArthur stations). And not every station gets an early morning Bay to Breakers train. Additionally, these early trains are only for Bay to Breakers, and will not travel beyond Embarcadero Station.
One train leaves Millbrae at 6:31 a.m., then arrives at Daly City at 6:44, and 16th Street Mission at 6:54. Another train leaves El Cerrito del Norte at 6:37 a.m., also stopping at MacArthur and West Oakland. A 6:25 a.m. Pleasant Hill train also makes those same two additional East Bay stops, and a 6:20 Dublin/Pleasanton train also stops at th Bay Fair and West Oakland stations.
Riders of these trains will arrive at roughly 7 a.m at the Embarcadero, so you’ll have an hour to kill before the race. If you miss that early BART train, regular service starts at 8 a.m.
And keep in mind that last year, there was a 10-15 minute-long wait at a security gate before you could go to the starting line. That may or may not be the case again this year, last year’s race was the day after that Buffalo mass shooting. But it may not be the end of the world if you miss the early BART train and have to wait for the 8 a.m. train, considering there will likely be a long security and bag-check line from 8 - 8:30 a.m.
And for their part, Caltrain will also be running two early Bay to Breakers trains Sunday. One leaves San Jose Diridon at 6:02 a.m., the other leaves the Palo Alto station at 6:24 a.m. Neither of these stops at every station, so check the schedule beforehand to plan your trip appropriately.
Image: Joe Kukura. SFist