Archive for the ‘BART’ Category

BART to temporarily reduce service hours based on ridership data, end daily service at 9 pm beginning March 23

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Thursday, 03.19.20 Update

BART is taking swift action to reduce operating costs as ridership levels have declined by 90% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter in place orders.  BART has done an exhaustive review of ridership and train car loads this week and will make the following changes to service until further notice:

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, BART will provide service Monday-Friday from 5am-9pm (currently service is 5am-midnight). Current weekday train frequency will remain.

Starting Saturday March 28, 2020, Saturday and Sunday service will be from 8am-9pm (currently Saturday service is 6am-midnight and Sunday is 8am-midnight). Current weekend train frequency will remain.

All riders must be in the system by 8:45pm to have a guaranteed ride to their destination.

BART will monitor ridership data each day to determine how long these service hours will be in effect.

BART is currently compiling partner agency bus alternatives and will post that information here once confirmed.

Data based decision

Ridership after 9pm has dropped substantially and now represents only 3% of total daily ridership.  Closing early is a better option than running less frequently or running shorter trains after 9pm because BART will realize immediate costs savings to its operating budget by being able to reassign a significant number of operating staff to capital projects.  These are projects that will accelerate our system reinvestment work.

“This decision is being made now because all 9 counties in the Bay Area have shelter in place orders and our ridership has plummeted 90%,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers.  “We are taking a data-driven approach to these decisions to ensure as few people as possible are impacted.  These are extraordinary times and we did not take this decision lightly.  Our system operates using public dollars and we have an obligation to make financially sound decisions about service levels.”

Other steps taken to reduce operating costs

General Manager Bob Powers is closely monitoring revenues and expenses daily, adjusting while also balancing our obligation to provide public transit to essential workers in the region.  The immediate loss of fare revenue has a devastating impact on BART’s operating budget as 60% of our budget to provide service is from fare dollars.

BART’s General Manager has implemented the following cost reduction measures:

  • An immediate District-wide hiring freeze except for BART Police.  All other vacancies funded through the operating budget will remain vacant until further notice.
  • All overtime funded by the operating budget has been cancelled unless required for critical operating and maintenance functions, staffing requirements outlined in our Collective Bargaining Agreements, or legal requirements such as employee rest laws.  Overtime funded by the Capital budget is being approved on a case by case basis.
  • Some positions funded by the operating budget have been shifted to capital funded work. For example, as BART runs few trains on the yellow line in response to lower ridership, train mechanics have been shifted to Fleet of the Future related work.
  • All employee travel for conferences and other work-related travel has been suspended until further notice.

BART is seeking emergency funds from all levels of government during this crisis.  A sustained ridership loss of 90% and a 50% reduction of economic activity impacting other revenue sources could reduce BART’s monthly revenues by approximately $60M.

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BART continues regular service during shelter in place

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Monday’s shelter in place emergency order from local counties considers BART an essential business. 

BART will continue to provide regular service for riders performing essential activities and for riders travelling to and from “essential business” work, with long enough trains to allow for social distancing. Based on ridership levels last week and over the weekend, social distancing is happening on BART.  Last week BART served 24%-61% fewer riders depending on the day of the week. There is enough space for riders to remain 6 feet from each other. Increased cleaning and disinfecting are continuing in stations and trains. (See related article).

The order provides the following guidelines specific to transit:

  • BART, along with other essential businesses, is “strongly encouraged to remain open.”
  • To the greatest extent feasible, BART should allow for Social Distancing of at least six feet from any other person including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.
  • People must use public transit only for purposes of performing Essential Activities or to travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses or maintain Essential Governmental Functions and Essential Infrastructure operations and maintenance. People riding on public transit must comply with Social Distancing Requirements, to the greatest extent feasible. The shelter in place order defines each of those categories.
  • Essential travel also includes travel:
  • to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members.
  • to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members.
  • to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
  • to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  • to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
  • required by law enforcement or court order.
  • required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County.

BART staff and frontline workers continue to deliver safe BART service.  BART staff is being provided the tools they need to perform their job safely including hand sanitizer, germicidal wipes, face masks for positions that require them, and other personal protective equipment.  We offer an Employee Assistance Program with resources that can assist with child/elder care referrals, financial consultation and counseling with a licensed mental health clinician.

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BART schedule change begins today Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday, February 10th, 2020

BART adjusted train schedules, today February 10, 2020 to improve service. The new schedule impacts all lines to some degree, especially first and last trips of the day. Some lines will see service start earlier and some will start a little later. Most changes are small tweaks and will adjust departures and arrivals by only a few minutes, but there are some more significant changes.

Major improvements include the return of two-line service into San Francisco on Sunday, the addition of Fleet of the Future trains on Saturday, earlier weekday train service for many riders, increased peak service for Concord riders in the morning and evening, and later evening direct service from San Francisco into Warm Springs.

Many of our riders plan their arrival times around the specific train they want to catch. We want to make sure all of our riders know about these adjustments in advance, so they are not caught by surprise. Train times have shifted by a few minutes throughout the day.

The new schedule is now available on our Trip Planner  and on the BART (Official) App when you plan a trip on or after 2/10. Also, PDF’s of the current and new schedule timetables can also be found here.

Highlights of service changes:

Weekdays

  • Morning peak-period trains that previously originated or turned back at Pleasant Hill will now originate/turn back at Concord, allowing BART to better serve more riders on this busy line by returning extra service to Concord. In September 2015, BART changed its schedule and these trains went from starting at Concord to starting at Pleasant Hill. Over the years, morning riders looking to target these short run trains because they were less crowded, shifted their origin station to Pleasant Hill. These riders may now opt to begin their trip at Concord once again. Pleasant Hill will still be served by the same number of trains in the morning, but many of them will no longer originate at the station. 3 trains will originate at Pleasant Hill in the 6 am hour. Some PM commute trains will also end at Concord instead of Pleasant Hill. Riders will no longer see “Pleasant Hill” trains on the platform signs, instead they will be “Concord” trains.
  • The first trip from Richmond to Warm Springs (Orange Line) will leave Richmond at 5:04 am—17 minutes earlier than before.
  • The 5:00 am northbound train from South Hayward is now a Warm Springs/Richmond (Orange Line) train to Richmond instead of a Warm Springs/Daly City (Green Line) train to Daly City.
    • Passengers heading to San Francisco will need to use Dublin/Pleasanton to Daly City (Blue Line) or Antioch/SFO (Yellow Line) trains for the first San Francisco arrivals, arriving in San Francisco 8 minutes later.
  • Service to San Francisco from Warm Springs will be earlier with the first Warm Springs/Daly City (Green Line) train departing at 5:01 am instead of 5:15 am.
  • We are extending evening direct service on the Warm Springs/Daly City (Green Line) from Daly City to Warm Springs with an added train departing at 7:12 pm.
  • We have eliminated the morning peak 9:12 am Antioch/SFO (Yellow Line) departure from MacArthur to Daly City to enable the Concord turnback trains to serve more riders.
  • The evening schedule has been adjusted to better accommodate Transbay Tube single-tracking
  • Saturday
  • We’ve added more Fleet of the Future (FOTF) trains—two each on Antioch/SFO (Yellow Line), Dublin/Pleasanton (Blue Line), and Richmond/Millbrae (Red Line). The Warm Springs/Daly City (Green Line) will run four FOTF trains, or 50% of our existing FOTF trains.
  • The first northbound Warm Springs/Richmond (Orange Line) train starts in service at Bay Fair at 5:52 am instead of Coliseum at 6:00 am
  • The first westbound Dublin/Pleasanton to Daly City (Blue Line) train starts in service at Bay Fair at 5:58 am instead of Coliseum at 6:06 am.
  • Sunday
  • We will return to two-line service into San Francisco. The Dublin/Pleasanton (Blue Line) will serve San Francisco (see the map below). Blue line trains will terminate at Montgomery or Daly City depending on the time of day and if there is single tracking. Riders on the Blue Line who are travelling farther south will transfer to a Yellow Line train at Montgomery St.
    • Warm Springs/Daly City (Green Line) and Richmond/Millbrae (Red Line) trips were eliminated to make way for the return of Dublin/Pleasanton (Blue Line), service to San Francisco.
  • Headways on Sundays will be every 24 minutes on all lines, four minutes longer than the current Sunday service plan. BART staff believes this service plan will provide greater predictability and resilience in the event of a service delay.
  • Trips to Millbrae will no longer require a transfer at SFO on Sundays.  The Sunday map below still shows the “Purple line,” but with no transfer bubble. The Purple line was re-introduce as a unique line in Feb. 2019, and now all trips between SFO and Millbrae are considered the Purple line- regardless of what train is used to make the trip.  The Sunday trains will be labelled as “SFO/Millbrae” bound trains on platform signs and we will make on board announcements so Sunday riders know they don’t need to transfer at SFO to a Millbrae train.  The concept of showing two separate lines, but offering a one-seat trip with no transfer, is called “interlining.” The train switches from one route to another.  BART plans to use this concept moving forward for the Purple line to allow us to be flexible with how we operate this segment of service while keeping the map simple, without added annotations, and consistent.
  • The first northbound train is Dublin/Pleasanton (Blue Line), leaves 24th St/Mission at 7:50 am, and Civic Center at 7:54 am (instead of 8:04 am)
  • The first northbound train on Warm Springs/Richmond (Orange Line) will start at South Hayward at 7:54am and arrive at Coliseum at 8:10am. (Previously it started at Coliseum at 8:09 am)

 

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BART to move 10 community service officers to new “ambassadors” on trains program beginning next month

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Will be unarmed and given de-escalation and anti-bias training

BART will launch an ambassador program next month to increase the presence of uniformed personnel on trains to address customers’ concerns about safety and security. The BART Board voted unanimously today to move forward with a six-month pilot program that’s targeted to begin February 10th.

The ten ambassadors will be recruited from the ranks of the BART Police Department’s Community Service Officers, non-sworn personnel who perform a variety of police services including writing parking tickets. The ambassadors will receive additional de-escalation and anti-bias training. The effort is in addition to the team of 12 officers to begin patrolling the trains on Monday, Jan. 13. (See related article).

“This team will be police employees and trained to provide a sense of safety and security for our riders on-board trains and deter crime,” said Interim Police Chief Ed Alvarez. “I worked closely with our Board members, the General Manager, and police unions to develop a program that is responsive to our riders and is able to launch seamlessly, safely, and quickly.”

The ambassadors will walk trains in teams of two, seven-days-a-week from 2 pm to midnight, with extra coverage on Saturdays. They will focus their patrols on the most heavily travelled section of the system, the transbay corridor between 12th St. Oakland and Civic Center stations. During crowded evening commute hours, they will increase their coverage areas to other sections of the system such as Coliseum to Union City and Walnut Creek to Pittsburg/Bay Point.

“Our ambassadors will serve as extra eyes and ears on-board trains,” said BART Board President Lateefah Simon. “It’s a promising, first-of-its kind program at BART that will provide a welcoming presence focused on customer service and curbing inappropriate behavior.”

The ambassadors will wear easily-identifiable uniforms distinct from those of Community Service Officers or Fare Inspectors. They will be equipped with radios to report safety and security concerns or biohazards. The ambassadors will also be trained to respond to customers’ questions, complaints or requests for service.  They will observe and report and call upon an officer when enforcement is needed.

“I am pleased existing Community Service Officers who are vetted, hired, trained and supervised by sworn police officers will be on trains on nights and weekends,” said BART Director Debora Allen. “I’ve been urging BART to add additional layers of security on board trains since I was elected to the board, and our vote today is a step in the right direction.”

The Board voted to fund the six-month pilot at a cost of $690,000 as well as an additional $810,000 to expand the paid area at Coliseum Station and enclose the elevator, using a new swing-style prototype faregate, into the paid area to prevent fare evasion.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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BART announces hiring of new Chief of Police, team of 12 officers to begin patrolling trains Monday

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

New BART Chief Ed Alvarez. Photo: BART.gov

BART’s General Manager Bob Powers announced today the hiring of Ed Alvarez as Chief of Police and tasked the new chief with immediate changes to increase officer presence on board trains and other strategies to reduce crime on the system and improve the rider experience.

Alvarez is a 22-year veteran of the BART Police Department, an East Bay native, and has spent his entire law enforcement career moving up the ranks within BART Police. He was serving as Interim Chief of Police and was previously the Deputy Chief in charge of the Support Services Bureau.  The selection is the result of a nationwide search process involving BART’s Police Citizen Review Board and Independent Police Auditor.

“Alvarez knows the system and has a vision for safety that includes short-term and long-term strategies to grow the department into a fully staffed, progressive agency serving diverse communities,” said General Manager Bob Powers.  “We must do more to ensure all riders feel safe and to prevent crime on BART.  Ed Alvarez brings the internal knowledge coupled with the creative thinking to better serve our riders, support our officers, and increase accountability without delay.”

The appointment is effective immediately and Alvarez is swiftly putting into place new deployment strategies responding to concerns voiced by riders in Customer Satisfaction surveys and the General Manager’s Listening Tour. Changes include:

  • Beginning Monday, a newly created team of 12 sworn police officers will be dedicated to riding trains in pairs and walking platforms on nights and weekends. This team will supplement the newly approved ambassador program which Alvarez was instrumental in creating and begins February 10, utilizing unarmed non-sworn police staff to prevent and de-escalate problems on board trains.  Coupled together, both programs offer 22 police staff dedicated to riding trains, representing a new shift in the deployment strategies of the police department.
  • Immediate evaluation of patrol staffing to determine the feasibility for the creation of newly assigned fixed post assignments at key stations such as Coliseum, where data shows a high volume of calls for service. The assigned fixed post officer would be responsible for the safety and security of a specific station, opposed to current roving patrols. The fixed post assignments will create greater station ownership and on-going community engagement.  The evaluation will include how to improve response times, reduce crime, and increase presence.
  • Increased visibility and engagement with riders to prevent cell phone snatching, especially between Balboa Park and Powell stations where there has been an uptick in the number of juveniles snatching phones, running to make a quick escape, and selling them along Market Street for cash. In 2019 59% of violent crimes at BART were attributed to electronic thefts.  If we are successful in stopping cellphone thefts, the violent crime rate at BART will dramatically drop. 2019 BART crime stats show crime is up 11% with violent crime up 4% compared to 2018.

“I am excited for the opportunity to move the department forward and improve the relationship with our riders and our employees as we work together to make BART the safest transit system in the country,” said Alvarez.  “Our officers take great pride in protecting and securing our busy system, they are skilled and committed, and I will do everything I can to support their efforts.”

As Interim Chief of Police, he oversaw the record-breaking acceleration of hiring, outpacing attrition to increase the number of officers available for patrol; the on-going process and commitment to BPD’s prestigious accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA); the improvement of surveillance video recovery time; and the roll out and life-saving deployment of Narcan.

As a BART detective, he investigated, arrested, and helped get the conviction of a human trafficker that targeted a young juvenile.  As a sergeant he’s credited with starting the Critical Asset Patrol team that provides additional uniformed presence within the stations and on trains in the core of the BART system which includes the downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland stations.

Alvarez is a first generation Mexican-American, fluent in Spanish, and grew up in Newark riding BART to A’s games and into San Francisco.  He understands the needs of the riders and the complexities involved with transit policing. It is Chief Alvarez’s goal to improve engagement between BART police and the public through increased outreach and accessibility.

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BART fares to increase January 1

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

A 5.4% inflation-based fare increase will take effect on January 1, 2020 as part of a program first approved by the BART Board in 2003 and renewed for a second series in 2013.

For a short trip like Downtown Berkeley to 19th St./Oakland, the Clipper fare will increase by 10 cents, and a longer trip like Antioch to Montgomery will increase by 40 cents.

View the new fare chart. The Trip Planner and Fare Calculator will be updated with these new fares before December 13, 2019. The fare charts at stations will be swapped out just prior to January 1.

Paper ticket fares will continue to have a 50 cent per trip surcharge. Riders are encouraged to use Clipper and save.

All new revenue from this fare increase goes to BART’s highest priority capital needs including new rail cars, a new train control system to provide more frequent service and an expanded maintenance facility.

According to a KRON4 news report, “For example, if you go from Lafayette and get off at the Embarcadero station, a one-way ticket will cost you $5.30.

From Antioch to Embarcadero, that ticket will cost you $7.90.

Another example – south Fremont to Embarcadero is $7.10.

Dublin to the same station will be $6.60.”

Fare Increase is Based on Inflation

To help fund the BART system’s extensive capital needs, BART has an inflation-based fare increase program adopted by the Board of Directors that raises fares every other year at a rate .5% less than inflation for the previous 2-year period.

It is important fares keep up with inflation because BART is not heavily subsidized by the government and we rely on fares for two-thirds of our operating budget.   We are working very hard to improve the rider experience with stepped up cleaning efforts, additional police presence to keep you safe, and new solutions to address the Bay Area’s homeless crisis and the impact on our system.

This is the last of four biennial fare increases called for under the 2013 series. The BART Board has approved a third series of inflation-based fare increases that will go into effect in 2022, 2024 and 2026.  This latest series will follow the same inflation-based formula as the previous increases.

Means-Based Fare Discount Pilot

BART will participate in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Regional Means-Based Fare Discount Pilot Program expected to begin in early 2020. The program will offer a 20% discount per trip to adult riders earning 200% or less of the federal poverty level.

Get Clipper

Clipper has many advantages over paper tickets:

BART is working to move toward a Clipper-only fare payment system because the region has prioritized the use of Clipper as the Bay Area’s all-in-one transit card administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Clipper has many advantages over paper tickets:

  • Clipper saves money. Adult paper tickets have a 50 cents surcharge on every trip, which equals $1.00 per round trip. With a one-time acquisition fee of $3.00 for a Clipper card, it pays for itself in just 3 roundtrips.
  • In addition to the 50-cent per trip savings on BART, customers who use Clipper also pay less on Muni, Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries, San Francisco Bay Ferry, AC Transit and Caltrain.
  • Clipper is tourist-friendly as it offers discounts on various transit agencies while eliminating the need to purchase and carry multiple fare products from different agencies.
  • Clipper is reusable and long-lasting, unlike paper tickets that get worn and tattered.
  • Clipper is accepted by nearly all transit agencies in the region. Many other agencies offer discounted fares when using Clipper.
  • Riders can set up their Clipper card account to reload automatically so they won’t have to wait in line.
  • The loaded value on the Clipper card is secure when it’s registered. If you lose the card, the balance can be replaced for a nominal fee.
  • Your Clipper card can be linked to your BART EZ Rider parking account for a fast and easy way to pay for BART parking. Once you have Clipper, go tohttps://ezrider.bart.gov/ezrider/ and follow the instructions to link the card to our parking program and then simply tap your Clipper at parking validation machines.
  • The tag in and out system allows Clipper card users to move through fare gates faster.
  • Clipper cards can be purchased at every BART station and at many retail outlets throughout the region.
  • Paper tickets can jam our fare gates, so Clipper usage means more open fare gates, shorter lines and less fare gate maintenance.
  • Clipper usage reduces the paper waste of the magstripe tickets in the BART system.

 

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BART employee who saved man’s life is from Antioch and former Panthers football coach

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

John O’Connor and his wife, Tere.

By Luke Johnson

A man fell into the trackway – about 30 feet in front of an oncoming train – and a BART employee immediately thought:

“Oh, he ain’t gonna make it.”

However, the employee got on his knees and reached over the trackway – putting himself in harm’s way. He then grabbed the fallen man and pulled him to safety with inches to spare. This all happened in a matter of three seconds. (See BART video)

Photo courtesy of John O’Connor.

The hero: John O’Connor, 55, who has lived in Antioch for 28 years. He’s also a former assistant football coach for the Antioch High Panthers and has worked for BART for the past 24 years.

He was working at the Coliseum Station after the Oakland Raiders game Sunday, Nov. 3 to provide extra supervision for the overflowing postgame crowd – which was needed to say the least.

“That’s what I’m here for,” O’Connor said. “God was with us at that moment.”

He added that it doesn’t sound right to be called a hero, because people in the military, police and fire department save lives all the time and he doesn’t believe he belongs in that category.

It seemed a lot slower than it actually happened (on video), O’Connor said during a press conference. He came to the side, I figured he wasn’t going to make it so I grabbed him and pulled him up to the platform. That’s what we do. We got foreworkers, train operators, station agents who deal with this on a daily basis. We preach safety, and we practice it.

Although he may not identify as a hero, this Thursday the Raiders will honor him as one. The team will host him in front of the Thursday Night Football audience as this week’s “Hometown Hero.”

O’Connor during the press conference. Photo by BART.

BART said the young man who stumbled onto the trackway was intoxicated.

After O’Connor pulled the young man to safety, he lifted him from the ground, embraced him with a hug and said, “It’s OK.” Meanwhile, other BART riders cheered for O’Connor for saving the young man’s life.

The moment was captured on video and posted to Twitter – which quickly went viral and can be seen, here.

The story has been all over the news and has even garnered national attention. O’Connor said if it weren’t for that video, many people would not have known what happened, and it would have become “just another good drinkin’ story.”

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Weekend BART delays between Orinda and Walnut Creek 8/17-18, bus bridge, and Highway 24 lane closures

Friday, August 9th, 2019

There will be no single-tracking or track closures due to this project for the weekend of August 10-11.  However, there will be overnight lane closures on eastbound Highway 24 near the Lafayette Station.  You can get more details here. The first weekend track shutdown between Orinda and Walnut Creek stations is scheduled for the weekend of August 17-18.

We are making extensive repairs and upgrades to the track between Orinda and Walnut Creek stations on most weekends through October, including some upcoming full weekend closures with bus bridges.   Using Measure RR funds, we’ll be replacing track and electrical equipment, installing new switches, improving station platforms, and making other repairs and improvements to provide more reliable, safer, quieter, smoother and faster service.

Closure weekends: 8/17-18, 8/31-9/2 (Labor Day Weekend), 9/14-15, 9/28-29, 10/12-13, 10/26-27

Riders should expect delays of 40 minutes or more on closure weekends.

County Connection and AC Transit will provide free shuttle bus services:

  1.    Direct service between Orinda and Walnut Creek
  2.   Service between Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek stations.

Single-Tracking
Single-tracking on some Saturdays will mean delays of up to 30 minutes. Please plan your trip with that in mind. We will single-track on 7/27, 8/3, 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, and 10/19.  We may need to turn back some trains at Orinda to maintain our schedule. If so, you will be asked to leave the train you are on and board a different train to reach your destination.

Highway 24 Lane Closures

On select weekends including single-tracking Saturdays, we plan to close the two eastbound lanes on the far-left side of Highway 24 near the Lafayette Station and Oak Hill Road to allow equipment and material to be placed near and in our tracks. The next lane closure is scheduled for 11 pm Friday August 9 and will continue until 7 am Saturday August 10.  The two eastbound lanes of 24 will also be closed Saturday August 10 at 11pm until 9 am Sunday August 11.

Lane closures for single-tracking Saturdays will only happen during overnight hours from 11 pm Friday to 7 am Saturday and 11pm Saturday to 9 am Sunday.  All lane closures will happen near the Lafayette Station at Oak Hill Road.

Night Work

We will also do work at night after service closes on weeknights through at least the end of October.

Sunday single tracking in San Francisco

On select Sundays through the rest of this year, there will be single-track service between the Embarcadero and 24th Street Mission stations in downtown San Francisco due to electrical cabling replacement work.  This replacement project is critical to ensure our trains can count on a reliable power supply. The work can add 15-30 minutes to your trip. Get the latest on this project here.

Use the Trip Planner, call the BART Transit Information Center at (510) 465-BART (2278), or get the Official BART app to plan your trip.

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