Get Ready to Stand – New Schedule Significantly Reduces (about 40% to 60%) Seating for all but Yellow Line
The new BART schedule rolls out Monday, and with it comes 6 car trains running on 20-minute headways for all lines but the Yellow line, which will have 8 car trains running on 10-minute headways. This article looks into the massive amounts of seat reductions due to this reduction (from 15 min to 20 min) of service and retirement of the legacy cars from scheduled service.
To acknowledge, this schedule provides consistent service for weekend riders, who have been stuck with 30 minute service. This new schedule brings it back to essentially pre-covid Saturday service, with slightly longer trains in some instances, for both Saturday and Sunday – a much needed improvement. Additionally, it <may> help to increase safety, if the dope fiend and crackhead fare evaders know they are being watched by a body of civil riders – time will tell.
However, BART was not built solely to run trains on weekends. This schedule is better reserved for weekends, and not weekday peaks. The commute period service provided under this new schedule a disservice to loyal BART weekday peak time commuters.
As can be seen from my calculations, some if not many riders can expect a reduction of 42% to almost 60% of the seats compared to the trains that ran in August, over the course of an hour. This is absolutely unacceptable during commute hour, in which BART once (e.g. when it was built and until the first few years of operation) promised a seat for nearly every passenger. Such a valiant goal is no longer attainable, but neither is the reality of running a train suited for weekend service during weekday peak commute. These seat reductions are due to shorter trains, alongside retirement of the legacy cars from scheduled service. Perhaps this is a fitting end to the cars – although worn and battered, they had plenty of seats and last ran under a schedule with plenty of trains. (To note, I fully invite corrections to these calculations, but please note that they are not based on “mixed” Legacy and FOTF service, but either or, for simplicity. Still, the message is the same – reduced amounts of seats).
Crowding only looks good on paper – it sucks to stand on your ride to work, let alone going home.
Even worse – the media is widely reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases. Long trains encourage social distancing – this is the polar opposite of what should be happening.
To add insult to injury, BART has been consistently reducing train sizes these past few weeks – last week had plenty of 8 car Green line trains, and this week has plenty of 6 car train on the Green, Orange, and Blue lines. It’s not even the new public schedule and they are already making people cram in.
The lucky yellow line riders will receive a 10-minute headway, receiving a nearly 20% increase in seats. This further puts the burden on everyone else, and those yellow line riders that must transfer to another line.
I highly recommend readers to comment on BART media/customer service to bring back longer and more frequent trains during the times in which they are needed most.
At some point, if nothing is done, people will realize BART is providing worse service for weekday peak commutes – and may switch to driving. The exact opposite of what BART was designed to do.
As I have written elsewhere in the site – BART was designed to not be the twice daily dreg to work. It was faithfully designed to be a rapid transit system suitable for the modern age – a rapid transit system worthy of ridership due to massive considerations designed to provide a comfortable, clean, reliable, convenient, and inexpensive ride to work, school, shopping, recreation, and other activities. BART was not built to provide pitiful service, and we can only hope that BART becomes the system we have so dearly paid for, through the past 60 years.
"The Two Bagger" is meant to be a place to store more "blog" style posts on various cars, pictures, and random tidbits. At BART, a "two bagger" is a rather informal name for a two car train. Two car trains rolled in revenue service back in 1972.