Get ready for some major changes on BART starting September 11, as the transit agency rolls out some long-awaited service changes that aim to enhance rider experiences Monday. The overhaul includes shorter wait times, new timetables, and notably shorter train lengths.
To tackle one of the most significant complaints from riders — the lengthy wait times, especially during evenings and weekends — BART has ambitiously committed to a maximum wait time of just 20 minutes for a train, regardless of the time of day or day of the week, per KQED.
So what's changing? One of the most noticeable improvements will be seen on BART's busiest route, the Yellow Line (from Antioch), which connects Pittsburg/Bay Point and San Francisco International Airport. Trains on this route will now run every 10 minutes (until 9 p.m. on weekdays).
Plus, on weekends until 9 p.m., the Red Line (from Richmond) and Orange Line (from Berryessa/North San Jose) will have trains running every 10 minutes into San Francisco.
Additionally, timed transfers will be introduced to optimize travel for riders traveling from San Francisco and the Peninsula to East Bay locations, minimizing delays and wait times.
And, as we previously covered, all of BART’s legacy train cars will be retired Sunday night, and starting Monday, all of its cars will only be from the "Fleet of the Future.” These cars have a significant difference from the legacy trains: they’re shorter.
During the pandemic, BART operated longer trains to facilitate social distancing, according to KQED, but the agency believes that this had unintended consequences, including encouraging anti-social behavior and making patrols and cleaning more challenging. So the new schedule reportedly introduces eight-car trains on the Yellow Line and six-car trains on all other lines. BART officials said they don't believe that this will contribute to crowding, but says it will monitor the situation and adjust as needed.
As Oaklandside reported, BART's ridership is slowly but surely making a comeback — August's numbers for BART were the highest since the pandemic began, seeing about 4.5 million total riders, and an average of 166,637 during weekdays.
You can read the whole new schedule here (PDF).
Feature image courtesy of BART.