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BART to reduce service on failed Millbrae extension

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  • 2/6 Oakland Tribune
    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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2004
      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
      airport.

      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
      Millbrae.

      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@...
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