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BART plans to double SMCo. service; sell cut-rate SFO parking

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  • 5/17 SF Chronicle
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2007
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      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
      ridership.

      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
      14.

      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
      lackluster ridership.

      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
      envisioned.

      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@...
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