BART is most useful for riders who need to move around the city and close surrounding areas (Milbrae on the Peninsuala) as well as the East Bay
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The heavy-rail public transit and subwaysystem 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 44 stations in four counties. With an average weekday ridership of 357,800 passengers, 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 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 Bridgeuntil 1958.
BART has served as a rapid transit and commuter rail system, and provided an alternative transportation route to highway transportation, though its critics counter its success has taken four decades to come to fruition at a steep cost during the interim. The system is being expanded to San Jose with the Silicon Valley BART extension.
Hours of operationEdit
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 run every fifteen minutes on weekdays and twenty minutes during the evenings, weekends and holidays; some stations in Oakland and San Francisco are served by as many as four lines, and could have service as frequently as every three to four minutes.
BART service begins around 4:00 am on weekdays, 6:00 am on Saturdays, and 8:00 am 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 pm) or Sunday service, but all stations remain accessible by transfer from the other lines.
The All Nighter bus 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 could cost as much as $9.50 as of 2007.
Cell phone and Wi-FiEdit
In May 2004, BART became the first transit system in the United States to offer cellular telephone communication to passengers of all major wireless carriers on its trains underground. 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 December 2009, service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube, thus providing continuous cellular coverage between West Oakland and Balboa Park. In August 2010, service was expanded to all underground stations in Oakland (19th Street, 12th Street/Oakland City Center, and Lake Merritt). The eventual goal is to provide uninterrupted cellular coverage of the entire BART system.
Starting on February 20, 2007 BART entered into an agreement to permit a beta test of Wi-Fi Internet access for travelers. It initially included the four San Francisco downtown stations; Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center. The testing and demonstration also included above ground testing to trains at BART's Hayward Test Track. The testing and deployment was extended into the underground interconnecting tubes between the four downtown stations and further. The successful demonstration and testing provided for a ten year contract with WiFi Rail, Inc. for the services throughout the BART right of way. In 2008 the Wi-Fi service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube.
Connecting servicesEditAC 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.
In addition, BART has connection to the Altamont Commuter Express commuter rail service via shuttle at the Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton and West Dublin/Pleasanton stations.
BART connects to San Francisco's local light rail system, the Muni Metro. The upper track level of BART's Market Street subway, which in plans from 1960 would have carried BART trains to the Twin Peaks Tunnel, 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 Parkstations.
Connecting services via busEdit
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), AC Transit, SamTrans, County Connection, and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Golden Gate Transit). Until 1997, BART ran its own "BART Express" connector buses,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.
Other services connect to BART including the Emery Go Round (Emeryville), WestCAT (north-western Contra Costa County), San Leandro LINKS, Napa VINE, Rio Vista Delta Breeze, Dumbarton Express, Benicia Breeze, Union City Transit, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in Silicon Valley.
Several commuter and interregional bus services connect to BART including the San Joaquin RTD Commuter (Stockton), Tri Delta Transit (Contra Costa County), Greyhound, California Shuttle Bus, Valley of the Moon Commute Club, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, and Modesto Area Express BART Express.
BART hosts car sharing locations at many stations, a program pioneered by City CarShare. Riders can transfer from BART and complete their journeys by car. BART offers long-term airport parking through a third-party vendor 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. Many BART stations offer parking.
BART connects directly to the San Francisco International Airport; connections are available to AirTrain for those not departing or arriving from the international terminal. BART is connected to Oakland International Airport via AirBART shuttle buses, 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.