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BART Fares & Schedules: What's Changed in Eight Years

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

We have managed to get our hands on a "BART Fares & Schedules" brochure from eight years ago, effective January 1st, 2008. We thought it would be quite interesting to check out how much the BART system has changed over the last eight years. 


BART's brochure syle has changed quite a bit in eight years. (January 1st, 2008 - February 8th, 2016, the most recent brochure from BART.


The most immediate, glaring change everyone would notice is the BART system map:


The old map (right) and the new map (left), side by side.


These two maps, when put next to eachother, have hardly anything in common - the much more topographical look of the older map, which displays all parks, highways and the lines in general in great detail, showing you every curve and bend in the BART System.


A bit of symmetry and simplicity is lost when looking at the old BART map, as it's harder to focus on each individual line with so much "stuff" being thrown at the viewer - is it really necessary to show every bend between Dublin/Pleasanton and Castro Valley? 


The old map can also be confusing when stations are bunched together, such as in the Downtown Oakland area. But on the bright side, the older map shows you San Jose and how to get to San Jose by showing you ACE and CalTrain (although the newer map shows you all this when in trains).


The new, most recently updated BART map from 2011 removes any clutter from the older map and simply shows you the five (six, if you want to include the Oakland Airport Connector, which we're not) lines. In trains, the new map also displays other transit systems in the Bay Area.


The new map removes all parks and highways from the older map and shows you a hyper-simplified diagram of the BART network. This means the map looks cleaner and has more symmetry to it. No longer is there any clutter in the Downtown Oakland area, or any unwanted curves in the lines.


The new map favors simplicity rather than accuracy, which means there are points where the map is misleading. The new map tells you that Balboa Park, Glen park and 24th Street/Mission Stations are all south of Hunter's Point, which none on them are.


The Yellow and Red lines do not travel that far down the Peninsula, and San Francisco International Airport is not that far south and is much closer to the Bay. None of these affect the typical viewer though, and only Bay Area natives will really notice these nitpicks.


Let's move on to how the system has changed in eight years, simply looking off the two maps: The difference that catches our eyes first is the Blue Line having gone all the way to Millbrae, instead of stopping at present-day Daly City. 


The Blue Line only ran to Millbrae on weeknights and weekends, though (between 7:19 and 11:49  on weeknights and early morning and late evening on weekends), and BART figured there wasn't much of a point in keeping the Blue Line to Millbrae.


Today, the Blue Line terminates at Daly City, but when the SFO BART extension opened in 2003, the Blue Line went to SFO, and the Yellow Line went to Millbrae, skipping the Airport altogether.


A whole different line, the Purple Line, ran shuttle trains every 20 minutes from the Airport to Millbrae. It was discontinued in January 2008 due to low ridership, although BART says it was to "increase effeciency." Here's what it looked like: 


What's also noteworthy is that the Yellow Line, in the 2008 BART map, stopped at SFO, rather than continuing to Millbrae. 


Another noticeable change is how you get to Oakland Airport - on the old map, a shuttle service was in place, but on the new map, it looks as if a whole new line was started.


That's because previously, passengers wishing to get to OAK from BART needed to wait for an every-20-minute AirBART bus service between Coliseum Station and both airport terminals, and I don't think anyone wants to wait for anything, outside, in East Oakland.


BART opened the Oakland Airport Connector on November 22, 2014, eliminating the AirBART system (which wasn't even run by BART in the first place). 


Another change you'll notice is the newest BART station in the system, West Dublin/Pleasanton, which opened in February 2011, meaning the new(er) station does not exist on the older BART map.


The only other slight difference, just by looking at the two maps, is the transfer station for northbound trains in Downtown Oakland.


Previously, the northbound transfer point was 12th Street/Oakland City Center, shown on the old map. BART moved this transfer point a few blocks up, to 19th Street/Oakland Station, several years ago. 


Let's move on to fares which, as you could most likely guess, have risen quite a lot in eight years. But because BART uses an incredibly convoluted way of charging its passengers based off of where you're going and where you came from, it's impossible to give a close estimate as to how much fares have risen.


So instead, we'll provide you with some examples. Back in 2008, the absolute bare-minimun fare you'd pay in the entire BART system was $1.50. This was for going from, let's say, Fruitvale to Lake Merritt, or Rockridge to MacArthur, one stop over.


Now, the minimun fare you are going to pay on BART has risen to $1.95, an astounding 45-cent difference. 


The maximun amount of money you could spend on BART, in 2008, was if you traveled from Pittsburg/Bay Point to SFO Airport, which costed $8.00. Today, the maximun fare you can pay on BART is $15.70, between Oakland Airport and San Francisco Airport.


Now let's look at a ten-station journey, such as from Pittsburg/Bay Point to 19th St/Oakland. in 2008, this journey would cost you $4.05. In 2016, the same journey costs you $4.75, a 70-cent increase.


Now let's look at a journey which requires a transfer: from Pittsburg/Bay Point to Fremont. In 2008, this journey would cost you $6.00. Today, this same journey costs you $7.05.


The most insane fare increase from 2008 to now has to be getting from any station to San Francisco International Airport, where BART has raised its fares astronomically. 


Today, one stop over, from San Bruno to the Airport, costs you a whopping $7.65. Eight years ago, it cost $4.05. Between Pittsburg/Bay Point and SFO, the fare today is $12.05. In 2008, the fare was $8.00. Appearantly BART figures, "Hey, what better way to rip off tourists and everybody who uses an airport."


Going into great detail about what's changed to BART's schedule in eight years would take hours to write and read, so the only things that we will focus are BART's express trains and longer trains during rush hours.


On September 14, 2015, BART introduced express trains to the system, with six trains during the morning commute skipping Rockridge, Lafayette and Orinda stations while traveling eastbound.


On February 8, 2016, BART slightly modified this express train system to pass through Walnut Creek station as well, running nonstop from MacArthur to Pleasant Hill, before turning back.


BART also approved a new schedule and budget system last year, which enabled 30 more cars to be in service during both rush hours. This meant there could be more 10-car trains on certain lines, and overcrowding would (supposedly) ease slightly. 


Of course, there have been countless tweaks to BART's schedule in eight years, none of which are really noteworthy however. So we won't waste any more time with this subject for the sake of not nitpicking everything BART has done in eight years.


And finally, we will look at one final topic: future expansions of the BART system. 2008 was when the economic downturn of the U.S. economy officially began, which hampered transit systems to improve their services for several years. In fact, many agencies were forced to slash service as a result of the crash.


Between 2003 and 2014, there were no extensions of the system - in 2003, the extension to SFO opened, and in 2014, the Oakland Airport Connector began service.


As mentioned, BART did build West Dublin/Pleasanton station in 2011, but apart from that, no new development took place on the network for quite a while. 


Looking ahead, we have the Warm Springs extension, which will take BART 5.4 miles to Warm Springs/South Fremont. This project has been delayed a few times; it was set to open two years ago, then Summer of last year, then the end of last year, and now Summer of this year. 




After that, we're not quite sure what will come first - eBART to Antioch, or BART to Berryessa/San Jose. Both are projected to open sometime in either 2017 or 2018. 


After that, we don't know. It would be nice to see BART to Livermore, but there is no current funding for that plan. eBART could theoretically head to Brentwood and beyond, but again, no funding yet. 


BART will someday reach Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, but we can't say we have much hope for that anytime soon. 




So that, in a nutshell, is what has changed in eight years, plus what is yet to come. A lot has changed, as you could tell from scrolling through this story, but we can only wait and see what's store for us in the near and distant future for BART. 

AC Go: AC Transit's Most Significant Expansion Plan Rolls Out

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

AC Transit's largest service expansion in years, dubbed AC Go, has launched on June 26, and brings an unprecedented 14% expansion in AC Transit service to East Bay riders. 


The first phase of AC Go includes these many service changes:


Extended Lines:

Line 12: The line has been extended from its current terminal, at 10th & Washington Streets in Downtown Oakland, to Oakland Amtrak. 

Line 57: The line has been extended via 40th & Shellmound Streets to the Emeryville Public Market, past its previous terminal at 40th Street and San Pablo Ave.

Line 99: The 99 has been extended to San Leandro BART. It will continue to serve Bay Fair BART.


Redesigned/More Frequent Lines: 

Line 1: The International bus now runs from 12th Street BART to San Leandro BART every 8 minutes.

Line 7: Frequency has been increased from every 40 to every 30 minutes.

Line 52: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 20 minutes off-peak.

Line 62: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes during peak hours, and every 20 minutes off-peak.

Line 88: Frequency has been increased to every 15 minutes.

Line 98: The redesigned line now runs between Coliseum BART and Eastmont Transit Center via 98th Ave. The 98 will run every 20 minutes. The service day has also been increased from 9:45 PM to 11:00 PM.


New Bus Lines:

Line 6: The new 6 is meant to replace Line 1 service from Downtown Berkeley to Downtown Oakland, and operates from Berkeley BART to 10th & Washington Streets (12th Street BART) every 10 minutes.

Line 90: This new East Oakland line runs from Coliseum BART to Foothill Square via 85th & 90th Avenues every 20 minutes.


Eliminated Bus Lines:

Line 1R: Yes, the 1R: International Rapid is gone, soon to be replaced by AC Transit's Bus Rapid Transit Line, the first in the East Bay. Construction of the BRT line has prompted the cancellation of the 1R, but the newly added Line 6 is here to combat that cancellation for regular 1R riders.

Line 58L: The 58L, between Oakland Amtrak and Eastmont Mall via MacArthur Blvd, is gone as well, and its recourses have been shifted to improving the updated Line 57 and the NL with greater service.


New Buses!

Between the fiscal years of 2013-2014 and today, AC Transit has placed 210 new buses onto our city streets, with 96 more to come this fiscal year alone. 


These modern buses are slowly replacing AC Transit's old fleet of just over 600 buses. Many of AC Transit's older vehicles have well exceeded their life expectancy, and need to be replaced sooner rather than later.


With AC Go, 25 new 40 foot Diesel Electric Hybrid buses will be rolled out for revenue service between June and August. These are made locally by Gillig in Hayward, and are designed to reduce carbon emissions drastically.


In late 2017 or early 2018, 10 New Flyer Fuel Cell Buses and 5 New Flyer Battery Electric buses, both of which burn zero emissions, will be added to AC Transit's fleet.


Also coming in 2017 and 2018 are the introduction of 29 60-foot articulated buses, 10 double-decker buses for transbay service, and 10-foot buses. 


If you need an example of a terrific transit agency that has no problem getting stuff done, then look no further than AC Transit. No agency is perfect by any means, but we believe AC Transit can serve as a role model to other agencies around the Bay Area and to agencies throughout the United States.


For more information on AC Go, visit actransit.org.

BART Delays on May 4 Between MacArthur and 19th Street Stations

Posted on April 29, 2016 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Mandatory track inspections by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will cause 15-20 minute delays between MacArthur and 19th Street stations Wednesday, May 4.


This will affect the Pittsburg/Bay Point - SFO/Millbrae, Richmond - Daly City, and Richmond - Fremont lines. To achieve safety, trains will either be stopped or moving very slowly between the two stations. 


This is a routine inspection by the CPUC, the State of California agency that oversees the public transportation and utilities.


For more details, visit bart.gov.

MUNI Forward Service Improvements Coming April 23!

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Ever since MUNI Forward was adopted over a year ago the entire MUNI system has benefited with a series of service improvements. On April 23, the fourth round of MUNI Forward will roll out, and will bring service improvements to over 30 lines, old and new.


Nearly 20 lines will get more frequent service, eight lines will receive longer service hours, two lines will make new connections to BART, and two new Owl routes will be added to the MUNI System!


More Frequent Service:

All MUNI Metro Lines: Increased service on Saturdays to every 10 minutes, and every 12 minutes on Sundays

1 California: Service increased from every 7 minutes to 6 minutes

2 Clement/3 Jackson: Service increased on Sutter Street to every 5 minutes

6 Haight-Parnassus: Late-night service increased from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes

7 Haight-Noriega: Late-night service increased from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes

10 Townsend: All-day service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

12 Folsom: All-day service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

28 19th Avenue: Mid-day service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes

28R 19th Avenue Rapid:  Mid-day service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes (now all day 10 minute service)

31 Balboa: PM commute service increased from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes

35 Eureka: AM commute service increased from every 30 minutes to every 25 minutes, and every 15 minutes during PM commute

37 Corbett: Commute service increased from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

47 Van Ness: Commute service increased from every 10 minutes to every 7.5 minutes

25 Treasure Island: All-nighter frequency increased from every 45 minutes to every 30 minutes


Increased Service Hours:

28R 19th Avenue Rapid: Service Monday - Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM

Express Lines 1AX, 1BX, 31AX, 31BX: Service extended to 7 PM

30X Marina Express: Service extended to 7 PM, larger buses, plus stop consolidation along Chestnut Street

57 Parkmerced: Weekday service to begin at 5 AM

E Embarcadero: Added weekday service runs between 10 AM and 7 PM


Line Improvements:

2 Clement: New electric short-line service between California and Presidio

14R Mission Rapid: Service extended to Daly City BART all day

18 46th Avenue: Route turning from Sloat onto Skyline


In addition to these dozens of service improvements, there will be two brand-new Owl routes launching on April 23, the 44 Owl and the 48 Owl. 


The 44 Owl will run between Bayview and Glen Park BART, and the 48 Owl will run between Noe Valley and 3rd Street. With these two new routes, even more San Franciscans are within 1/4 of a mile of bus stops.


It's taken long enough, but MUNI has finally truly upgraded its system. One year ago, Rapid service replaced Limited service, the new MUNI map was rolled out, and the first new 60-foot articulated buses were introduced.


Since then, MUNI has progressively bettered its system across the City, with more and more passengers closer to MUNI service. Only in the future will we know what improvements are to come.


For more information, visit https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/blog/muni-keeps-moving-forward-more-service-improvements-launch-april-23.

BART Voltage Spike Investigation Continues

Posted on April 16, 2016 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The problem remains a mystery: what caused BART's mysterious voltage spike between N. Concord and Bay Point Stations? 


It's been almost a month since the first voltage spikes occurred, slaughtering "C" cars and taking them out of service. Normal train service has resumed, first with just "A" and "B" cars, but now includes "C" cars once again.


So the problem is gone for now - but BART still has not managed to diagnose the problem. Paul Oversier, Assistant General Manager of Operations, said, "...We need to get to the bottom of this. We don't want our customers to suffer through another round of this so we need to get to the root cause."


BART has developed a car specifically designed to measure track voltage at various locations, but still nothing. Only time will tell. 


For more details, go to bart.gov.

BART to Open Early and Run Longer Trains for Bay to Breakers

Posted on April 13, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

On May 15, the Bay to Breakers race is returning to San Francisco! The race, which takes place on a Sunday, starts at 8 AM, when BART normally resumes service. 


However, because of the Bay to Breakers race, BART will begin the Sunday morning at 6 AM, with trains still running every 20 minutes. Trains will also be longer than normal.


The race starts at Howard and Spear Streets, which is accessible by both Embarcadero and Montgomery stations. East Bay riders should use Embarcadero, and Peninsula and San Francisco riders should use Montgomery.


Visit bart.gov for more information.

REMINDER: BART Closed Between San Leandro and Bay Fair April 9th - 10th

Posted on April 9, 2016 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)


BART will be closed from San Leandro to Bay Fair tomorrow, April 9th and Sunday, April 10th, while crews work on repairs to a decrepit part of the BART system.


There will be a bus bridge in place between the two stations, but riders who use the bus bridge should expect to reach their destination half and hour to an hour late.


For more details, visit bart.gov.

MUNI Proposes Rise in Cash Fare Payments

Posted on April 7, 2016 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

MUNI has proposed a 25-cent raise in cash fares, another example of Clipper's increasing dominance in the growing Bay Area.


The surcharge is part of the new SFMTA budget plan adopted last Tuesday. The hope is that boarding times and costs will be slashed by using Clipper and MUNI Mobile, rather than cash.


If approved, the surcharge would come into effect January 1st. The extra 25 cents could raise $3.8 million dollars by the end of 2017. In addition to the fare raise, an extra $5 would be added to MUNI's monthly “A” Fast Passes, bringing the total to $88. 


However, despite all the positive outcomes of raising cash fare payments, the public, and ourselves, are not convinced this surcharge is the right thing to do.


This method of money-making is unfair to the millions of people who use cash to pay their fare on MUNI. No one should have to pay more for not owning a Clipper card. 


"It should be the same," exclaimed Thu Kyi, 18, a student at San Francisco City College. Antoinette Nwaokoro, a 53-year-old medical assistant, said "They shouldn’t have to pay extra. Everyone should pay the same.”


We hope the MUNI Board recognizes this biased and unjust surcharge as a step back for the MUNI system, but chances are they won't.


The SFMTA has a history of raising fares, and with Clipper becoming ever more dominant in the transit market, it's easy to promote Clipper by charging non-users more to help the system.


For more information, visit SFGate.

Special Features of the Fleet of the Future

Posted on April 6, 2016 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

You may be wondering how BART's Fleet of the Future will improve on the current aging fleet. To put it in a specific point of view, BART's new cars will be...


  • Cooler - Air conditioning will flow directly to a car's ceilings for more comfort for standees.
  • Quieter - Micro-plug doors will seal out much more noise than the current ear-piercing fleet.
  • Intuitive - Automated announcements are coming (thank goodness), along with digital maps of the BART system showing you exactly where your train is and what the next stop is.
  • Roomy - Seats will not stick out as much as they do now, with much more space for standing folks. The height of the car is also taller.
  • Quicker - Three doors allows for passengers to onboard and off-board much faster.
  • All-Types-of-Passengers Friendly - Much more priority seating (priority seats are even colored a separate color), polls and straps to hang on to, bike racks inside the car, and wheelchair areas make BART's new cars meant for every type of rider.

For BART, a system that is lagging behind transit agencies all over the world, these new cars are a necessity if the rapid transit agency wishes to transport an expanding Bay Area and compete with other systems in America.

BART's First Train Car Arrives, and is Currently Undergoing Testing

Posted on April 6, 2016 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Two weeks ago, an oversize-load truck left snowy Philadelphia and headed west with BART's very first Fleet of the Future train car.


The car arrived in Hayward, California and was immediately shoved onto the test tracks. Over the course of this year, more cars will start rolling in, and each car will be vigorously tested.


BART should have its entire new fleet delivered by 2018 or 19, with 775 new cars, a considerable margin compared to BART's current fleet of 669 cars. BART hopes to eventually order 1,081 cars if funding permits.


To find out more info on BART's delivery and testing process, go to bart.gov.


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