Published Thursday, May 17, 2007, by the San Francisco Chronicle
BART plans to expand services
San Mateo County trains would double
By Rachel Gordon
Chronicle Staff Writer
BART management wants to double the number of trains serving
Peninsula commuters and to offer low-cost parking for people headed
to San Francisco International Airport in hopes of boosting West Bay
In addition, BART would start running service to the airport earlier
in the day to cater to people catching early morning flights, under
a staff proposal that the BART Board of Directors will consider June
The plan is the first move BART has made to improve service and
attract more riders in San Mateo County since assuming full control
over its Peninsula operations from SamTrans earlier this year.
SamTrans had been paying for BART's operating costs in San Mateo
County as part of the 1990 agreement that extended BART south of Daly
City. SamTrans, which operates a bus system, lost money on the deal
and forced BART to cut service and raise fares, which contributed to
SamTrans continues to face financial problems. The agency's Board
of Directors must close a $10.5 million deficit for the fiscal year
that starts July 1. Officials have yet to determine how to balance
the budget, but are looking at tapping into reserves and not cutting
service, SamTrans spokesman Jonah Weinberg said Monday.
The Peninsula BART extension, which serves Colma, South San
Francisco, San Bruno, Millbrae and SFO, carries about 30,000
passengers a day -- far short of the 50,000 BART originally
Now, with ties between BART and SamTrans severed under a deal
brokered by the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission,
BART is looking for ways to attract more riders.
"Obviously, people want more service," spokesman Linton Johnson said.
Under the proposal, the Pittsburg/Bay Point line would once again run
to the airport on weekdays, and Richmond line trains would bypass the
airport and go directly to Millbrae. The Dublin/Pleasanton line would
replace the Richmond train on the Millbrae run on weekends and
holidays and after 7 p.m. weekdays.
The change would speed the commute for San Francisco-bound riders
boarding in San Bruno, South San Francisco and Colma, Johnson said.
In addition, the first train from downtown San Francisco to SFO would
have a scheduled arrival time at the airport of about 5:10 a.m. --
20 minutes earlier than now. And the first train from Richmond would
leave around 4 a.m., about an hour earlier than the current schedule.
BART would create a long-term parking program in which airport
travelers could leave their cars at the Peninsula stations and pay
$6 a day.
Officials hope the changes will increase ridership on the Peninsula
line by 2 percent next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@...