BART to reduce service on failed Millbrae extension
- Published Friday, February 6, 2004, in the Oakland Tribune
BART schedule to change Monday
By Sean Holstege
BART's revamped schedule change takes effect Monday, promising more
convenience for Peninsula commuters and some in the East Bay, while
making airport trips trickier for others.
BART riders boarding at Dublin/Pleasanton Station will no longer be
able to take a train directly to San Francisco International
Airport. They are urged to transfer at Balboa Park, and they're not
happy. BART saw the number of customer complaints double this week and
almost all were attributed to gripes about the lost service.
But based on travel demand since the SFO extension opened last summer,
BART will run trains from Pittsburg/Bay Point Station directly to the
From 6 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, trains from Richmond
to Millbrae will carry passengers one extra stop into the
airport. Similarly, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. as well as between 7
p.m. and midnight on weekends, Pittsburg-SFO trains will continue to
The adjustment eliminates a three-car shuttle between the two
Peninsula stations, which is so empty it has been dubbed the "Ghost
Train." [BATN: Instead, it is replaced by a TEN-car train operating
through from the Concord-Pittsburg line, requiring two reversals of
direction and requiring two extra BART operators to drive it!]
BART planners had always expected Peninsula commuters to come north on
Caltrain and switch to BART at Millbrae on their way into the
city. Reality turned out differently. Only one-third of the expected
passengers are using Millbrae station, and most want to go south.
BART failed to predict the growing counter-commute, whose rise and
fall matched the high-tech boom and bust. The new schedule is
intended to serve that commute. It eliminates the need for commuters
to climb stairs to transfer between the two rail lines and BART and
Caltrain will be better timed to meet. Rush hour passengers at San
Bruno, South San Francisco and Colma stations can expect more balanced
waits between trains to the city. A train will come every seven or
eight minutes instead of a cycle of a train after 13 minutes, then
three minutes, then 13 minutes.
By reconfiguring which lines go into the airport, BART restored timed
transfers at MacArthur and Oakland 12th Street stations and cut
lengthy waiting times for thousands of commuters.
Before budget cuts trimmed service a year ago, passengers could take
any train south on the Richmond line and expect a train to any other
destination to be waiting for them at MacArthur. Similarly, northbound
passengers on the Fremont line could expect the same at 12th
Street. The budget ax wiped out that convenience and BART passengers
were left with fewer options -- and more time to fume about it.
Likewise, at Bayfair Station, Dublin line passengers currently have to
wait 11 minutes for a train to downtown Oakland or Berkeley. With the
changes in February, that wait will be cut to four minutes.
BART made the changes in response to a disappointing first six months
for the $1.5 billion extension. BART expects to save $2 million a year
through more efficient service. [BATN: The "profitable" extension
will still be losing between $12 and $15 million a year, money which
is paid by San Mateo County, not BART.]
For more information about the changes, visit www.bart.gov or call
5-1-1. New schedules are available at every BART station.
Contact Sean Holstege at sholstege@...