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BART to implement new schedule, adapting to post-pandemic ridership

Starting Monday morning, BART is implementing some changes aimed at boosting ridership. The agency said those changes will mean shorter wait times and more service on nights and weekends. 

On Sunday, some riders at the Walnut Creek BART station were looking forward to the changes to services.

“The fact that they’re going to come a lot sooner, perfect for me,” said one rider.

This is the biggest service change BART has had in years, according to Director Rebecca Saltzman, who highlighted the changes to weekend and evening service. 

“Right now, weekend and evening service is every 30 minutes and that is going to change to be every 20 minutes,” said Saltzman. “There will be no more 30 minute waits on BART any time of day, any day of the week.”

Saltzman added that there’s a lot of opportunity to grow in this area in particular. 

“A lot of transit agencies are looking at changes knowing that ridership patterns are just changing for so many of us,” she said. “Ridership was dependent on that 9 to 5 commute, and the world has changed. And so we have to change with it and go where the riders are.” 

Weekend ridership is growing faster than it is on weekdays, according to Saltzman. She said the former is between 60% to 70% of pre-pandemic ridership, while the latter is just above 40%. 

It’s not just the weekends getting a boost. The Yellow Line is also getting more service going forward. 

“Those trains have been crowded for a while now,” said Saltzman. “And the trains have been running every 15 minutes, so now they’re going to run every 10 minutes.”

Other changes include increasing evening service by 50%, reducing waiting times tied to new scheduled transfers, and running shorter trains to enhance safety and cleanliness. 

BART expects on-time performance and better reliability during peak commute hours. San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport should also see improved service. 

“I would think it would make a difference for a lot of people,” said another rider. “Instead of having to rush and miss it, and having to sit here for 25 minutes for the next car.” 

Besides service changes, BART is also planning to retire its legacy trains from regular usage Monday. 

“Pretty much every train riders will get on, starting tomorrow, will be on the Fleet of the Future,” said Saltzman.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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