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Bay Area Rapid Transit
San Francisco BART 1.jpg
A westbound BART train with aerodynamic design "A" car in downtown San Francisco
Locale San Francisco Bay Area
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 5
Number of stations 43 (2 under construction)
Daily ridership 346,504 (Jan-Mar 2009)[1]
Began operation September 11, 1972
Operator(s) San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
System length 104 mi (167 km)
Track gauge 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)
Electrification Third rail, 1000 V DC (BART)
BART system diagram
Unknown route-map component "uKBFa"
 Pittsburg/Bay Point
Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 North Concord/Martinez
Unknown route-map component "uKBFa" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
El Cerrito del Norte 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 Pleasant Hill
El Cerrito Plaza 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 Walnut Creek
North Berkeley 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
Unknown route-map component "uABZrg" Waterway turning to right
Urban station on track
Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 19th Street/Oakland
Urban station on track
 Oakland City Center/12th Street
Waterway turning from left Unknown route-map component "uABZrd"
West Oakland 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 Lake Merrit
Enter urban tunnel Unknown route-map component "uHST"
Transbay Tube  
Urban tunnel below water Urban straight track
Exit urban tunnel Unknown route-map component "uHST" Airport
 Coliseum/Oakland Airport
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 San Leandro
Montgomery St. 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban station on track
 Bay Fair
Powell St. 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban junction to left Urban track turning from right
Civic Center 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track Unknown route-map component "uHST"
 Castro Valley
16th Street Mission 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track
24th Street Mission 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track
 South Hayward
Glen Park 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track Urban straight track
Balboa Park 
Urban station on track Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track
 Union City
Daly City 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban end station, unused through track Urban straight track
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uexKBFe" Urban straight track
 Warm Springs (under construction)
South San Francisco 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "ueHST"
 West Dublin/Pleasanton (under construction)
San Bruno 
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Unknown route-map component "uKBFe"
San Francisco International Airport 
Unknown route-map component "uABZlfeABZrg" Unknown route-map component "uBHFl" Airport
Unknown route-map component "uKBFe"

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The heavy-rail public transit system connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and suburbs in northern San Mateo County. BART operates five lines on 104 miles (167 km) of track with 43 stations in four counties. With average weekday ridership of 346,504 passengers,[1] BART is the fifth busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States.

BART is operated by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, a special-purpose transit district that was formed in 1957 to cover San Francisco, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County. The name BART is an acronym and is pronounced as a word, not as individual letters. In some ways, BART is the successor to the Key System, which ran streetcars across the lower deck of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge until 1958.

BART has served as a highly successful rapid transit and commuter rail system, and it has provided a valuable alternative transportation route to highway transportation. Due to the success and the number of commuters depending upon the rail system, BART has been undergoing a vast modernization to improve the quality of the system and its ability to serve the public's transportation needs. These modernizations have included overhauls of the stations, the purchase of new and refurbished rolling stock, and extensions to the area covered by the BART lines.



Development and origins

Some of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System's current coverage area was once served by the electrified streetcar and suburban train system called the Key System. This early twentieth century system once had regular trans-bay traffic across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. By the mid-1950s that entire system had been dismantled in favor of highway travel using automobiles and buses - given the explosive growth of expressway construction. A new rapid-transit system was proposed to take the place of the Key System during the late 1940s, and formal planning for it began in the 1950s.[2] Some funding was secured for the BART system in 1959,[3] and construction began a few years later. The first passenger rail service commenced on a few stretches of track in September 1972.[4] The new BART system was hailed by some authorities as a major step forwards in subway technology.[5]

However, questions arose concerning the safety of the BART system[6] and the huge expenditures necessary for the construction of the BART network.[7] Praise for the new transportation system was not unanimous at first.

Recent history

2006 statistics
Number of vehicles 670
Initial system cost $1.6 billion
Equivalent cost in 2004 dollars (replacement cost) $15 billion
Hourly passenger capacity 15,000
Maximum daily capacity 360,000
Average weekday ridership 322,965
Annual gross fare income $233.65 million
Annual expenses $581.81 million
Annual profits (losses) ($300 million)
Rail cost/passenger mile (excluding capital costs) $.323

A recent study shows that along with some Bay Area freeways, some of BART's overhead structures could be extensively damaged and could potentially collapse in the event of a major earthquake, which is predicted as highly likely to happen in the Bay Area within the next 30 years.[8] Extensive seismic retrofit will be necessary to address many of these deficiencies, although one in particular, the penetration of the Hayward Fault Zone by the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, will be left for correction after any disabling earthquake, with the consequences for in-transit trains, their operators, and their passengers left to chance.

In May 2004, BART became the first transit system in the United States to offer cellular telephone communication to passengers of all wireless carriers on its trains underground. This is in contrast to other systems in United States, which, while having some cellular telephone service, do not provide it for passengers of all the major cell phone carriers.[9] Service was made available for customers of Verizon Wireless, Sprint/Nextel, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile in and between the four San Francisco Market Street stations from Civic Center to Embarcadero. In 2005, coverage was made available between Balboa Park and 16th St. Mission. By July 2008, the fifth cell phone network of the Bay Area, MetroPCS, was added.[10] In December 2009, service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube, thus providing continuous cell phone coverage between West Oakland and Balboa Park. Service is planned to be added in downtown Oakland, Berkeley, and the Berkeley Hills Tunnel by the end of the third quarter 2010. Coverage is expected to be added to South San Francisco and San Bruno in 2011. The goal is to provide continuous cell phone and internet service throughout the entire BART system. [11]

Starting on February 20, 2007 BART entered into an agreement to permit a beta test of WiFi Internet access for travelers on the BART system. It initially included the four San Francisco downtown stations; Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center. To date over 30,000 patrons have utilized the service. The testing and demonstration also includes above ground testing to trains at BART's Hayward Test Track. The testing and deployment has been extended into the underground interconnecting tubes between the four downtown stations and further. The successful demonstration and testing provided for a 10 year contract with WiFi Rail, Inc. for the services throughout the BART Right Of Way (ROW). [12]

During the months of May 2008 and July 2008 the WiFi service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube and now awaits BART cars which have the necessary WiFi equipment to benefit from the network access.[13]

Since the mid 1990s, BART has been trying to modernize its aging 30-year-old system.[14] The aforementioned fleet rehabilitation is part of this modernization; presently, fire alarms, water-sprinkling systems, yellow tactile platform edge domes, and cemented-mat rubber tiles are being installed. The rough black tiles on the platform edge mark the location of the doorway of approaching trains, allowing passengers to wait at the appropriate locations for the train, instead of waiting until the train arrives to figure out where to board. All faregates and ticket vending machines have also been completely replaced.

In the spring of 2007, BART experimented with a system of placed advertisement panels in the Transbay Tube, and when riders looking at the windows saw what looked to be a moving commercial for what was Reebok's "Run Easy" campaign.

On April 10, 2007, BART General Manager Tom Margro, who has been BART chief for eleven years, announced his retirement.[15]

In late May, 2007, BART stated its intention to improve non-peak (night and weekend) headways for each line to only 15 minutes. The current 20-minute headways at these times is viewed as a psychological barrier to ridership.[16] June 2007, BART temporarily reversed its position stating that the shortened wait times would likely not happen due to a $900,000 state revenue budget shortfall. Nevertheless, BART eventually confirmed the implementation of the plan by January 1, 2008.[17]

Furthermore, in June 2007, BART suddenly removed all references to implementation of the TransLink payment system from their website. BART spokesperson Marty Moran stated (via email) that TransLink now may be implemented as early as late 2007.[18] Implementation of TransLink on BART was pushed back even further due to disputes regarding the processing of fares between MTC and BART. TransLink was planned to be rolled out simultaneously on BART, SF Muni, and Caltrain in Spring 2008,[19]. TransLink access was rolled out in May of 2009 [20].

As BART celebrated the 50th anniversary of its creation by the state legislature, the organization's management announced their plans for the next 50 years. Their vision includes adding a four-bore transbay tube beneath San Francisco Bay that would run parallel and south of the existing tunnel and emerge at the Transbay Transit Terminal to provide connecting service to Caltrain and the proposed future California High Speed Rail system. The four-bore tunnel would provide two tunnels for BART and two tunnels for conventional/high-speed rail. BART's plan focus is on improving service and reliability in its core system (where density and ridership is highest), rather than extensions into far-flung suburbia. These plans include: a line that would continue from the Transbay Terminal through the South-of-Market, northwards on Van Ness and terminating in western San Francisco along the Geary corridor, the Presidio, or North Beach; a line along the Interstate Highway 680 corridor; and a fourth set of rail tracks through Oakland.[21]

Numerous rail service changes were implemented beginning on January 1, 2008. Among the changes, the trains on the Pittsburg / Bay Point line extended their service to the San Francisco International airport (SFO airport) station (at all hours of operation), but they did not continue to the end of the line at Millbrae. (Only a very few late-night Pittsburg / Bay Point trains continued on to Millbrae after stopping at the SFO airport station). During weekdays (until 7:00 pm), the trains on the Richmond line continued on to the Millbrae station, but bypassed the SFO airport station; during weeknights and weekends, trains on the Dublin / Pleasanton line continued to Millbrae, but also bypassed the SFO airport station). All of this meant that there would no longer be a direct train connection between the SFO airport and Millbrae, inconveniencing "Caltrain" passengers who wished to travel to the SFO airport. The BART management discontinued this direct rail connection, citing low ridership between Millbrae and the SFO airport. However, they did implement timed transfers at the San Bruno station for passengers who were traveling from the SFO airport to Millbrae.

With continuing budget constraints, it was necessary for BART to cut back on service beyond Daly City. As of September 14, 2009, the following changes have taken place: The Pittsburg/Bay Point line will still terminate at SFO on weekdays until 7:00 pm. After 7:00 pm, and all day on weekends and holidays, service will extend to Millbrae. The Dublin / Pleasanton line will no longer serve the extension, instead terminating at Daly City Station.

In 2008, BART announced that it would install solar power systems on the roofs of its train yards and maintenance facilities in Richmond and Hayward in addition to car ports with rooftop solar panels at its Orinda station.[22] The board lamented not being able to install them at all stations but it stated that Orinda was the only station with enough sun for them to make money from the project.[22]

Current system


A photo of the third rails used on the BART system. Note how the third rail changes location relative to the train upon entering the station and the crossover walkway crossing the trackway. Note the walkway on the left side of the trackway in the distance, which is the emergency walkway for the aerial trackway leading into the Daly City station – again, the third rail positioned opposite of this walkway.

BART comprises 104 miles (167 km) of track and 43 stations.[23] The system uses a controversial 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad rail gauge, as opposed to the 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge predominantly found in railroad systems in the United States. This is the only transit system in the United States using this gauge. The cars are wider than standard transit equipment, but as wide as standard gauge North American passenger cars. The down side is that all maintenance and support equipment must be custom built. Trains can achieve a centrally-controlled maximum speed of 80 mph (130 km/h) and provide a system-wide average speed of 33 mph (53 km/h) with twenty-second station stopping times (dwell times). Trains operate at a minimum length of three cars per California Public Utilities Commission guidelines to a maximum length of 10 cars, spanning the entire 700 feet (213 m) length of a platform.[24] At its maximum length of 710 feet (216 m), BART has the longest train length of any metrorail system in the United States. The system also features car widths of 10.5 feet (3.2 m) (the same width as an Amtrak Metroliner), a maximum gradient of four percent, and a minimum curve radius of 394 feet (120 m) on the main lines [25].

Electric current is delivered to the trains over a third rail, the position of which alternates relative to the context of the train.[26] Inside stations, the third rail is always on the side furthest away from the passenger platforms. This design feature eliminates the danger of a passenger either falling directly on the third rail, or stepping onto it to climb back to the platform should they fall off. On ground-level trackways, the third rail alternates from one side of the track to the other, providing breaks in the third rail to allow for emergency evacuations across trackways.

Underground tunnels, aerial structures and the Transbay Tube have evacuation walkways and passageways to allow for train evacuation without exposing passengers to easy, inadvertent contact with the third rail, which is located as far away from these walkways as possible.[27] The voltage on the steel third rail is 1000 Volts DC, so there are notices throughout the system warning passengers of its danger. In addition, BART posts notices inside each train car warning of the third rail and the four paddle-like rail contact shoes protruding from the underside of each car by the rail wheel trucks. Other third-rail powered metro systems in the US utilize a lower voltage.

Many of the original system 1970s-era BART stations, especially the aerial stations, feature simple, Brutalist architecture.

Ridership levels

Ridership records have been set during large scale regional-in-scope events such as the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.[28][29] The records included a Sunday record of 224,500 that coincided with an Oakland A's baseball game and a weekday record of 405,400 set on September 8, 2008, when both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Raiders had home games.[29] The one week record for ridership was 2,317,800 between June 23 and June 29, 2008. This broke the previous all time high of 2,301,800 achieved during a closure of the Bay Bridge.[28] BART set an absolute one-day record of 442,000 rides on Thursday, October 29, 2009, following the closure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge due to the failure of a structural repair.[30]

Problems with Segways on BART

After several high-profile incidents involving Segways, including an incident where a Segway was run over by a train after falling onto the tracks, BART banned them for 45 days until they could regroup and set up a plan to mediate the issue.[31] The consensus reached was the institution of rules similar to bicycles where the Segways would be disallowed during commute hours, except for disabled persons and that the devices could not be on or ridden past the fare gates similar to the rules for all wheeled devices such as skateboards and scooters.[31] Furthermore a permitting system has been established requiring registration for them to be used on the system.[31]


All routes pass through the city of Oakland, and all but the Richmond – Fremont route pass through the Transbay Tube into San Francisco and beyond to Daly City. Most segments of the BART system carry trains of more than one route.

Trains regularly operate on five routes. Unlike most other rapid transit and rail systems around the world, BART lines are generally not referred to by shorthand designations. Although the lines have been colored consistently on BART system maps for more than a decade, they are only occasionally referred to officially by color names, and only rarely referred to in this way by members of the public (e.g., the "Red Line").[32]

Instead, the five BART lines are generally identified on maps and schedules by the names of their termini:

The line from San Francisco through Daly City to Millbrae follows a former Southern Pacific railroad right-of-way, which is also served by Caltrain beyond San Bruno.

Hours of operation

The BART system consists of five lines, but most of the network consists of more than one line on the same track. Trains on each line historically ran every fifteen minutes on weekdays and twenty minutes during the evenings, weekends and holidays; however, since a given station might be served by as many as four lines, it could have service as frequently as every three to four minutes. However the system is closed for four hours every night for maintenance, reopening at 4:00 AM each morning, except for Sundays.[33][34]

As of January 1, 2008, service on every line is at 15-minute intervals except for Saturdays between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., when service is at 20-minute intervals. Also, as of January 1, 2008, BART service begins around 4:00 a.m. on weekdays, 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. Service ends every day near midnight with station closings timed to the last train at station. Two of the five lines, the Millbrae—Richmond and SF/Daly City—Fremont lines, do not have night (after 7 p.m.) or Sunday service, but all stations remain accessible by transfer from the other lines.[35] All-Nighter Network service is available when BART is closed. All but six BART stations are served (as well as eight Caltrain stations). BART tickets are not accepted on these buses, and each of the four bus systems charge their own fare, which can be up to $3.50; a four-system ride can cost as much as $9.50 as of 2007.[36]


Ticket vending machines at the Powell Street Station

Fares on BART are comparable to those of commuter rail systems and are higher than those of most metros, especially for long trips. The fare is based on a formula that takes into account both the length and speed of the trip. A surcharge is added for trips traveling through the Transbay Tube, to San Francisco International Airport, or through San Mateo County, which is not a BART member. Historically and up until only recently,[37] passengers have used refillable paper-plastic-composite tickets, on which fares are stored via a magnetic strip, to enter and exit the system (a similar magnetic strip ticketing system is used on the Washington Metro in Washington, D.C). The exit faregate prints the remaining balance on the ticket each time the passenger exits the station. A paper ticket can be refilled at a ticket machine, the remaining balance on any ticket can be applied towards the purchase of a new one, or a card is simply captured by the exit gate when the balance reaches zero; multiple low value cards can be combined to create a larger value card, but only at specific ticket exchange locations which are located at some BART stations.[38] BART relies on unused ticket values, particularly of patrons discarding low-value cards, as a source of revenue, approximated by some to be as high as $9.9 million.[39]

A standard-fare BART ticket. Notice the initial purchased fare printed parallel to the magnetic strip, and the card's remaining balance printed on the left, updated upon each exit. Images of older tickets, a blue, new-style ticket, and other color tickets can be found here.

A stored-value smart card fare system, called the TransLink smart card, was rolled out in the fall of 2009.[40] This program was launched to the public in fall 2006 with rollout on AC Transit, Dumbarton Express, and Golden Gate Transit lines.[41][42] BART previously promoted the EZ Rider card, a pilot program using technology similar in design to the TransLink cards. Both are contactless smart cards, and contain stored value that can be used for fare payments. BART contracted with Cubic Transportation Systems to replace all the faregates with ones that have smart card readers inherently installed.[43] The EZ Rider program is expected to last until September 2010.[44]

The BART minimum fare of $1.75 is charged for trips under 6 miles (9.7 km), such as a trip between two adjacent Berkeley stations.[45] The maximum one-way fare including all possible surcharges is $10.90, the 51 miles (82 km) journey between Pittsburg/Bay Point and San Francisco International Airport. The farthest possible trip, from Pittsburg/Bay Point to Millbrae, costs less because of the additional charge added to airport trips.[46] Passengers without sufficient fare to complete their journey must use an AddFare machine to pay the remaining balance in order to exit the station. Because of the amount of the base fare, traveling between BART stations in downtown San Francisco on BART costs 25 cents less than it does to ride the city's own light rail system, the MUNI Metro, which is generally slower in covering the same distance. However, MUNI permits around two full hours of riding, including transfers to other MUNI vehicles, whereas BART charges $1.75 for a single journey. There are various quirks in the fare system due to a subsidy being provided to riders traveling between some outlying stations. For example, for a trip from Dublin/Pleasanton to Fremont, it is less expensive to exit the station at the transfer point, Bay Fair, and re-enter the station, instead of staying on the platform, because you would get charged two $1.75 base fares instead of a $4.35 fare from end to end.

BART uses a system of five different color-coded tickets for regular fare, special fare, and discount fare to select groups as follows:[47]

  • Blue tickets – General: the most common type, includes high-value discount tickets
  • Red ticketsDisabled Persons and children aged 4 to 12: 62.5% discount, special ID required (children under the age of 4 ride free)
  • Green ticketsSeniors age 65 or over: 62.5% discount, proof of age required for purchase
  • Orange tickets – Student: special, restricted-use 50% discount ticket for students age 13-18 currently enrolled in high or middle school
  • BART Plus – special high-value ticket with 'flash-pass' privileges with regional transit agencies, including MUNI's buses.
  • EZ Rider – A new plastic smart card fare program that will eventually be replaced by the TransLink Phase II Program
EZ Rider Fare Card

Unlike most transit systems in the United States, BART does not have an unlimited ride pass available and riders must pay for each ride they take. The only discount provided to the public is a 6.25% discount when "high value tickets" are purchased with fare values of $48 and $64, for prices of $45 and $60 respectively. Amtrak's Capitol Corridor & San Joaquins trains sell $10 BART tickets on-board in the café cars for only $8,[48][49] resulting in a 20% discount. A 62.5% discount is provided to seniors, the disabled, and children age 5 to 12. Middle and high school students 13 to 18 may obtain a 50% discount if their school participates in the BART program; however, these tickets are intended to be used only between the students' home station and the school's station and for transportation to and from school events. However, these intended limitations are not enforced in any way and students are expected to behave on the honor system. The tickets are only usable on weekdays, a restriction that is enforced by the fare gates. BART Plus tickets enjoy a last-ride bonus where if the remaining value is greater than $.05, the ticket can be used one last time for a trip of any distance. Most special discounted tickets must be purchased at selected vendors and not at ticket machines. The Bart Plus tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines. In particular, the middle and high school tickets are usually sold at the schools themselves.

Family members of BART employees receive special BART passes and can ride free-of-charge upon showing their pass and photo identification to the BART station attendant. Employees of airlines that take BART to work at San Francisco International Airport receive a fare discount of 25%, but non-airline employees who do the same receive no discount.

Ticket gates with the orange triangular doors retracted for a Spare the Air Day

Fares are enforced by the station agent, who monitors activity at the fare gates adjacent to the window and at other fare gates through closed circuit television and faregate status screens located in the agent's booth. All stations are staffed with at least one agent at all times. Despite this, fare fraud occasionally occurs, usually as a result of people entering and exiting through the emergency exit gate, which are permitted for non-emergency use by passengers with bikes, in wheelchairs, and carrying luggage. It also occurs using elevators, which in some stations lead from the ticketed area to the unticketed area.

There is little fare coordination between BART and surrounding agencies. Some agencies accept the BART Plus pass, which at a fee of between $38 and $71 per month, permits pass holders to use BART and connecting buses. Most notably, AC Transit dropped out of the program due to the small amount of reimbursement they received from BART. Another fare coordination program permits adult monthly pass holders of the San Francisco Municipal Railway to ride BART trains within the city of San Francisco for free (with no credit applied to trips outside the city). The city of San Francisco pays BART $.87 for each trip taken under this arrangement.[50] For riders who do not hold such passes, there is generally only a token discount ($.25 to $.50) provided to passengers transferring to and from trains to other transit modes. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority does honor BART transfers for a local fare credit ($.50 to $1.75) towards the 120, 140, 180 and 181 trans-county express lines departing the Fremont BART station, but all riders are required to disembark in Santa Clara County. There is no credit applied when traveling towards the Fremont BART Station.

Proposals to simplify the fare structure abound. At one extreme, a flat fare that disregards distance has been proposed by BART director Joel Keller. The lesser extreme involves the implementation of a simplified structure that would create fare bands or zones. The implementation of either scheme would demote the use of distance-based fares and shift the fare-box recovery burden to the urban riders in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and away from the suburban riders of East Contra Costa, Southern Alameda, and San Mateo Counties, where density is lowest, and consequently, operational cost is highest.[51]

Connecting services

AC Transit bus stop at Bay Fair Station

BART has direct connections to two regional rail services – Caltrain, which provides service between San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy, at the Millbrae Station, and Amtrak's Capitol Corridor, which runs from Sacramento to San Jose, at the Richmond and Coliseum/Oakland Airport stations. A third Capitol Corridor connection at the Union City station is planned as part of a larger Dumbarton Rail Corridor Project to connect Union City, Fremont, and Newark to various peninsula destinations via the Dumbarton rail bridge.[52] BART is the managing agency for the Capitol Corridor until 2010.[53]

BART connects to San Francisco's local light rail system, the Muni Metro. The upper track level of BART's Market Street subway, originally designed for the lines to Marin County,[citation needed] was turned over to Muni and both agencies share the Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, Powell and Civic Center stations. Some Muni Metro lines connect with (or pass nearby) the BART system at the Balboa Park and Glen Park stations.

Other services connect to BART including the Emery Go Round (Emeryville), WestCAT (north-western Contra Costa County), Benicia Transit (Benicia), Union City Transit (Union City), and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA, in Silicon Valley).

BART hosts carsharing locations at many stations, a program pioneered by City CarShare. Riders can transfer from BART and complete their journeys by car. BART has started to offer long-term airport parking through a third-party vendor[54] at most East Bay stations. Travelers must make an on-line reservation in advance and pay the daily fee of $5 before they can leave their cars at the BART parking lot.

Casual carpools have formed at North Berkeley station and the area around El Cerrito Del Norte station. The lots are convenient since most carpoolers use public transit back to their final destination. However, because of how BART charges for parking, passengers cannot park at most BART lots without paying a fare.

Connecting services via bus

A number of bus transit services connect to BART, which, while managed by separate agencies, are integral to the successful functioning of the system. The primary providers include the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit), San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection), and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Golden Gate Transit). Until 1997, BART ran its own "BART Express" connector buses,[55] which ran to eastern Alameda County and far eastern and western areas of Contra Costa County; these routes were later devolved to sub-regional transit agencies such as Tri-Delta Transit and the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (WHEELS) or, in the case of Dublin/Pleasanton service, replaced by a full BART extension.

BART is connected to Oakland International Airport via AirBART shuttle buses,[56] which bring travelers to and from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. These buses are operated by BART and accept exact-change BART fare cards in addition to exact change. BART also connects to the San Francisco International Airport, though in this case the train actually enters the airport directly and no shuttle is necessary, although connections are available to AirTrain for those not departing or arriving from the international terminal.

The bus service connecting the University of California, Berkeley to the Berkeley BART station was once called Humphrey Go-BART,[57] a spoonerism of the famous actor and director Humphrey Bogart. It has since been replaced by a number of regular AC Transit bus routes and shuttle bus routes operated by the university.

Organization and management


The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District is a special governmental agency created by the State of California consisting of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City and County of San Francisco. San Mateo County, which hosts six BART stations, is not part of the BART District. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors with each of the nine directors representing a specific geographic area within the BART district. BART has its own police force.[58]

While the district includes all of the cities and communities in its jurisdiction, some of these cities do not have stations on the BART system. This has caused tensions among property owners in cities like Livermore who pay BART taxes but must travel outside the city to receive BART service.[59] In areas like Fremont, the majority of commuters do not commute in the direction that BART would take them (many Fremonters commute to San Jose, where there is currently no BART service). This would be alleviated with the completion of a BART-to-San Jose extension project.

However, some cities and towns are near enough to cities with BART stations that residents commute via a bus or car to the nearest BART station. Emeryville, for instance, has no BART service, but has a free shuttle service, the Emery-Go-Round, that takes passengers to the nearby MacArthur station in Oakland. Similarly, Albany does not have a BART station of its own. The city's residents can go to either North Berkeley (in Alameda County) or El Cerrito Plaza (in Contra Costa County) stations for services. For those wishing to drive their cars to the stations instead, many BART stations offer many kinds of parking options.[60]


In 2005, BART required nearly $300 million in funds after fares. About 37% of the costs went to maintenance, 29% to actual transportation operations, 24% to general administration, 8% to police services, and 4% to construction and engineering. In 2005, 53% of the budget was derived from fares, 32% from taxes, and 15% from other sources, including advertising, station retail space leasing, and parking fees.[61] BART's farebox recovery ratio of 53% is relatively high for a U.S. public transit agency operating over such long distances with high frequency (for comparison, see the article on farebox recovery).

General Manager

196? - 1975 Billy Stokes
1975 - 1978 Frank C. Herringer
1979 - 1988 Keith Bernard
1989 - 1994 Frank Wilson
1994 - 1996 Richard A. White
1996 - 2007 Tom Margro
2007 - Present Dorothy Dugger

Chief Spokesperson

1972 - 2004 Mike Healy
2004 - present Linton Johnson

Rolling stock

A refurbished A car interior with carpeted flooring.
Interior of a C1 car with an upgraded spray-on composite flooring.
The interior of a C2 car with carpeted flooring. A flip-up seat is visible on the left.
A Demonstration Car (modified C2 car) interior with blue vinyl flooring. This car has a designated Bike Space in the area normally reserved for passengers in wheelchairs; the front-facing seat on the left-hand side of the car has been removed to accommodate passengers with bicycles, in turn, the aisle-facing seat on the right-hand side near the operator's cab has been removed to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs. This car also has hand straps, unlike the other BART train cars.

BART operates four types of cars, built from three separate orders, totaling 669 cars.

To run a typical peak morning commute, BART requires 579 cars. Of those, 541 are scheduled to be in active service; the other 38 are used to build up four spare trains (essential for maintaining on-time service). At any one time, the remaining 90 cars are in for repair, maintenance, or some type of planned modification work.[62]

The A cars and the B cars were built from 1968 to 1971 by Rohr Industries, an aerospace manufacturing company which had only recently made its foray into mass-transit equipment manufacturing, touting yet untested space-age design techniques. The A cars were designed as leading or trailing cars only, with a fiberglass operator's cab housing train control equipment and BART's two-way communication system. The A cars are distinguished by their aerodynamic leading edge extending 5 feet (1.52 m) longer than their B- and C-car siblings. A cars can comfortably seat 72 passengers, and under crush load, 150 passengers. B cars have no operator's cab and are used in the middle of trains to carry passengers only; B cars have the same passenger capacity as A cars. Currently, BART operates 59 A cars and 380 B cars.[63] BART's livery has remained effectively unchanged throughout its history.

The C cars were built by Alstom between 1987 and 1989.[64] The C cars have a similar fiberglass operator's cab and control and communications equipment as the A cars, but unlike A cars, do not have the aerodynamic nose design, thus allowing them to be used as middle cars as well. The dual purpose of the C cars allows faster train-size changes without having to move the train to a switching yard. C cars can comfortably seat 64 (4 seats were lost compared to the A/B cars by eliminating one row of seats to accommodate the operator’s cab and 4 additional seats were lost by eliminating one pair of seats next to the left-side forward door on each side to provide space for wheelchairs) and under crush load accommodate 150 passengers. The latest order, from Morrison-Knudsen (now Washington Group International), was for C2 cars, which are essentially the same as C cars, but feature an updated, third-generation interior with a blue/gray motif, in contrast to the previous blue and brown colors. The CCTV cameras on C2 cars are also triangular in shape when compared to the rectangular shape of the camera on a C1 car. C2 cars have flip-up seats near the left-side forward door to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs, and red lights on posts near the door to warn the hearing-impaired when the doors are about to close. C2 cars can comfortably seat 68 passengers (including the flip-up seats), and under crush load can carry 150 passengers. Since the purchase of C2s, the original C cars are also referred to as C1 cars. Currently, BART operates 150 C1 cars and 80 C2 cars.

In 1995, BART contracted with ADtranz (acquired by Bombardier Transportation in 2001) to refurbish and overhaul the 439 original Rohr A- and B-cars, updating the old vintage brown fabric seats to the less-toxic and easier-to-clean,[2] light-blue polyurethane seats in use today and bringing the cars in general to the same level of interior amenities as the C2 fleet. The Rohr cars were also rebuilt with ADtranz 3-phase Alternating Current (AC) traction motors with IGBT inverters, model 1507C. The seven-year project was completed in 2002. All BART cars have upholstered seats and nearly all cars have carpeting except for some C1 and/or C2 cars. Because one of the original design goals was for all BART riders to be seated, the older cars have fewer provisions such as grab bars for standing passengers. Flip-up seats (found in C2 cars) were excluded from the refurbishment (reducing seating capacity from 72 to 68), in order to provide designated areas for luggage, wheelchairs and bicycles. Consequently, the original C (or C1) cars have the oldest interior design, as they have not been refurbished and were not purchased recently enough to have the "newer" convenience features; for example, they lack vertical grab bars in the middle of the car and do not have the in-post red lights to warn of closing doors. However, the carpeted flooring in most of the C1 cars was replaced with an experimental spray-on composite flooring after passengers complained that the cars were unclean.

The A, B, and C cars were all given 3-digit numbers originally, but when refurbished 1000 was added to the number of each individual A/B car (e.g. car 633 would become 1633). The C2 cars are numbered in the 2500 series; the C/C1 cars still have 3-digit numbers.

Prior to rebuilding,[65] the Direct Current (DC) traction motors used on the 439 Rohr BART cars were built by Westinghouse, the same company that also built the automatic train control system for BART. The Westinghouse traction motors are model 1463 with chopper controls. The Westinghouse DC motors are still in use on the Alstom C (C1) and Morrison-Knudsen C2 cars. The motors that were pulled from the Rohr cars during rehabilitation were retained as spare motors for use on the C1 and C2 cars. Other undercar systems also built by Westinghouse on the 439 Rohr BART cars before rehabilitation were the auxiliary power box, the hydraulic pumps for the brakes, the air suspension, and the brake control systems (which were part of the propulsion logic cradle that was mounted in the chopper control semiconductor box). The HVAC system on the Rohr BART cars before rehabilitation were built by Thermo King, when it was a subsidiary of Westinghouse (Thermo King is now a subsidiary of Ingersoll-Rand). The current HVAC systems on the rehabbed Rohr-built Gen 1 cars were built by Westcode[66].

Comparison with other rail transit systems

BART, like other transit systems of the same era, endeavored to connect outlying suburbs with job centers in Oakland and San Francisco by building out lines that paralleled established commute routes of the region's freeway system.[67] The majority of BART's service area, as measured by percentage of system length, consists of low-density suburbs. Unlike the New York City Subway or the London Underground, individual BART lines were not designed to provide frequent local service, as evidenced by the system's current maximum achievable headway of 13.33 minutes per line through the quadruple interlined section. Muni provides local light-rail and subway service within San Francisco city limits and runs with smaller headways than does BART. BART could in many ways be characterized as a "commuter subway," since it has many characteristics of a commuter rail system, including lengthy lines that extend to the far reaches of suburbia with significant distances between most adjacent stations. However, in the urban areas of San Francisco and downtown Oakland, multiple lines converge, and BART takes on the characteristics of an urban subway, including short headways and transfer opportunities to other lines.

BART could be considered to be more similar to a regional commuter rail service, such as the Berlin S-Bahn or the Paris RER.[68][69] However, BART also possesses all the qualities and services of a metro system,[70] including electrified third-rail propulsion, exclusive grade-separated right-of-way, frequent headways in its urban service areas, and pre-paid fare card access. Urban stations are as close as one-half mile (800 m) apart and have combined two and one-half to five-minute service intervals at peak times. These factors contribute to the consideration of BART as a hybrid metro-commuter system, functioning as a metrorail system in the central business districts of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, and as commuter rail in the region's suburban areas.

Future stock

A computer graphics rendering of what the new BART car will look like.

To speed up service, BART is preparing to introduce new, three-door cars. BART plans to start purchasing new cars in 2010, when it will have paid off other capital debt for track and car work, with the first 10 pilot cars arriving for testing in 2014. The order will consist of 200 base cars with two additional option orders of 250 cars each for a total of 700 cars to completely replace the original fleet. All 700 cars are to arrive by 2024. There are also two additional options, one for general fleet expansion, and the other for the San Jose extension, with 150 cars each. If all options are exercised, the total number of new BART cars will be 1000 cars.[71][72][73]

Future expansion and extension

Expansion projects for the Bay Area Rapid Transit have existed ever since the opening of the project. These projects include the Warm Springs extension,[74] the San Jose extension, the Oakland Airport Connector, eBART, 'tBART': I-580/Tri-Valley Corridor, 'wBART': I-80/West Contra Costa Corridor, and numerous infill stations along the route.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Quarterly Weekday Average Exits" (PDF). San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  2. ^ a b "History of BART (1946-1972)". BART. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  3. ^ See BART Composite Report, prepared by Parsons Brinkerhof Tutor Bechtel, 1962
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  7. ^ "BART Manager Denies System Was Overcharged by Designers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  8. ^ "BART Earthquake Safety Program". BART. Retrieved 2006-05-08. 
  9. ^ Michael Cabanatuan (November 19, 2005). "Underground, but not unconnected -- BART offers wireless service to riders". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  10. ^ Underground cell phone coverage on BART expands, BART, July 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  11. ^ BART expands wireless access to Transbay Tube, BART, December 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  12. ^ WiFi Rail Inc. to provide wifi access on BART system. BART. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  13. ^ WiFi Rail Tube Access. KRON 4. June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
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  16. ^ Cuff, Denis (2007-05-29). "BART board wants to lessen waits". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  17. ^ "Good move by BART". Contra Costa Times. 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  18. ^ Metz, Adam (2007-06-19). "BART's "customer response" to Blogger Emails doesn't answer ?'s". The Oakland Review. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  19. ^ "MTC -- Services -- Translink". MTC Website. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
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  22. ^ a b BART goes solar at Orinda station, by Dennis Cuff, Contra Costa Times, July 10, 2008, access date July 13, 2008
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  29. ^ a b 09.09.2008 BART sets ridership record with Monday's sports events
  30. ^ 11.01.2009 BART customers continue to set ridership records
  31. ^ a b c Pilot program approved for Segway use on BART, BART News, August 15, 2008, accessed August 18, 2008
  32. ^ "BART to run on Sunday schedule Christmas Day". BART. December 21, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  33. ^ "Why doesn't BART run 24 hours?". BART. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  34. ^ "BART - Overview". BART. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  35. ^ "BART Service Hours, Holiday Schedule". BART. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
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  39. ^ Jon Carroll (December 6, 2000). "Tiny Tickets Ha Ha Ha Ha". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
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  56. ^ "BART Board Acts On Oakland Airport Connector". BART. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  57. ^ "Myths, gods, and titanic disasters: How servers really get their names". IT World. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
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  61. ^ (PDF) BART 2005 Annual Report.  (TXT) BART 2005 Annual Report. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
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  66. ^ Westcode
  67. ^ W. S. Homburger. "The impact of a new rapid transit system on traffic on parallel highway facilities". 1029-0354, Volume 4, Issue 3 (Transportation Planning and Technology). Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
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  • BART: a study of problems of rail transit. California. Legislature. Assembly. Committee on Transportation. 1973. 
  • Richard Grefe (1976). A history of the key decisions in the development of Bay Area Rapid Transit. National Technical Information Service. 
  • E. Gareth Hoachlander (1976). Bay Area Rapid Transit: who pays and who benefits?. University of California. 

Further reading

  • Owen, Wilfred (1966). The metropolitan transportation problem. Anchor Books. 
  • Cervero, Robert (1998). The transit metropolis: a global inquiry. Island Press. ISBN 1559635916. 
  • University of California (1966). The San Francisco Bay area: its problems and future, Volume 2. University of California. 

External links

Simple English

The Bay Area Rapid Transit is a heavy rail public rapid transit system that serves the Bay Area in northern California. It was launched in the 1970s. the train is notable for a segment where it runs under the water in the San Francisco Bay. There are currently four lines.


People buy tickets inside the station. They insert the ticket into the gate, enter the train area, and take the ticket out. After they have boarded and exited the train, they do the same thing to exit the station. The ticket shows how much money is left on the card. If a person enters and exits the same station he or she will be charged $3.85.


In the 2000s, it was expanded to reach San Francisco Airport. Projects are also going on right now to expand the line into Oakland Airport as well. Projects are also happening to expand the system past the Dublin/Pleasanton station and Pittsburg Bay-Point stations.

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