BART to run every 15 min. nights & weekends, predicts 66% farebox
- Published Wednesday, September 26, 2007, by the Contra Costa Times
BART trains will run every 15 minutes
Beginning Jan. 1, riders will have a shorter wait on weeknights and
By Denis Cuff
Fulfilling a goal unmet for 35 years, BART operators have decided
to upgrade service in January to run trains every 15 minutes on
weeknights and weekends.
Shortening the maximum time between trains from 20 minutes to 15
minutes reduces a frustrating wait for customers and ought to lure
more people out of their cars to ride the trains, BART managers and
board members said.
"It's a giant step toward improving train service," said Joel Keller,
a rapid transit system board member from Antioch. "It simplifies
things for riders because you know a train is going to come four
times in an hour."
Effective Jan. 1, trains will arrive at each station at intervals no
longer than 15 minutes apart after 7 p.m. on weeknights and Saturday
nights, and all day on Sundays.
The plan for shorter waits had a bumpy ride this year.
Transit system managers suggested the change in the spring. Then
they recommended shelving it because they were counting on using
part of the $1.3 billion that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened
to divert from transit agencies statewide
In protest, BART board members inserted the service upgrade in their
budget and warned they would blame the governor if the change was not
The governor took away the money in his budget deal with lawmakers.
However, BART managers now have decided they can afford the service
change, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said Tuesday. "It's a definite
go," he said.
BART ended up with more fare money than expected because the number
of train riders grew faster than anticipated from April through June,
Also, the state budget deal didn't take away as much state operating
funds from BART as it might have, Johnson added.
BART estimates the added service will cost the train system
$1 million in initial startup costs, plus a recurring net cost
of $1 million a year.
BART will spend about $3 million more annually on labor, power and
maintenance, but it will take in about $2 million more annually in
fares from more riders, transit officials predict.
The reduced train waits should attract more people to ride BART to
San Francisco and other dining and entertainment centers to attend
concerts, plays or other leisure events, said Bob Franklin, a transit
system board member from Oakland.
"BART has been very successful at getting people to work," Franklin
said. "Now we're trying to make it more convenient to take BART on
The current 20-minute wait can be especially frustrating for riders
who must transfer to other BART train lines, he said.
Although BART officials say their mission is to provide an
alternative to the auto, it can be harder to compete with the car
at night. Freeways are less crowded then and parking fees often
"We think reducing the wait time 25 percent may tip the scale
for some people in favor of riding BART," he said.
When train service began in 1972, BART's founders had hoped to
limit waits to 15 minutes on nights and weekends, but a series
of technology and financial problems sidetracked those plans.
Reach Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267 or dcuff@...