Increasing Rider Capacity
When Bay Area Rapid Transit opened in 1973 it carried 32,000 passengers per weekday. Today, more than 433,000 people ride BART each weekday. This averages out to 20,000 passengers per hour! Of course, those passengers aren’t evenly spread across the day, and during rush hours some platforms are so crowded that waiting passengers are backed up onto the stairs. The health of our regional economy demands that BART increase ridership capacity.
Equitable Fares and Service
BART was built at a time when San Francisco was the economic center of the Bay Area, and it was designed to move (mostly white) white-collar professionals from the suburbs to downtown San Francisco and home again. Today our economy is no longer concentrated in downtown San Francisco; employment opportunities are spread throughout the South Bay and Silicon Valley, the Peninsula, and the East Bay in addition to San Francisco. Commutes are multidirectional, and the 8-5 schedule is the exception, not the rule. Yet those who don’t work in traditional job centers or traditional hours often have to ride on two or three separate transit systems to get to and from work. This adds significant expense to daily commutes. What is more, many of these “non traditional” commuters work in lower-wage jobs such as retail. Thus, the greatest time and money burdens fall on those who can least afford it. BART must rethink its fare structures and work with other Bay Area transit providers to synthesize our fragmented systems into a passenger-centric alliance that respects our time and money.
BART is more than 40 years old, and years of heavy use and deferred maintenance have taken their toll on the system. Infrastructure must be repaired, maintained, and/or replaced. Stations need to be modernized and well-lit so passengers feel safe when waiting for trains. However, the infrastructure can only be as safe as the people who operate it. BART employees must be recognized, respected, and compensated for the hard work of getting nearly half a million people where they are going each day. The system we all want values its employees and safeguards its infrastructure.
Better Bay Area
The Bay Area is a special place, and BART is its transportation spine. BART can help us realize more sustainable communities: Transit Oriented Development, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, permanently affordable housing, Complete Streets and protected greenways are just a few of the sustainable planning, transportation and land use possibilities BART creates. We can leverage this asset to support a more sustainable Bay Area.