ANTIOCH, Calif. (KTVU) - Just one day after the ribbon cutting, passengers have already started integrating the new e-BART extension into Antioch into their commute. "I been out here about 3 months, and it's been kind of troublesome taking all those buses," said commuter Larry Allen.
The new trains were unveiled yesterday amid ribbon cutting and celebrations. But, today those trains got to the real work of carrying riders where they need to go and avoiding Highway 4. "Oh my God, that highway 4 traffic! Highway 4 traffic is nothing nice," said Allen.
These trains, which use bio-diesel to power their electric motor, run to the Pittsburg-Bay Point station where riders can then transfer to the more familiar BART trains.
A perfect option for Jocelyn Villasana who is using the new train to make her way to the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This train is the first leg on her big adventure. "We're taking a cruise to Alaska. And, so this is really cool, we get to ride it the first time," said Villasana.
BART Director Joel Keller from eastern Contra Costa County says the new service is expected to ease congestion along the Highway 4 corridor. "So, people will be able to avoid that backup and take a smooth ride from here into Pittsburg-Bay Point," said Keller.
BART is anticipating a relatively low passenger load this holiday weekend, but is expecting these trains to fill up in the days, weeks and months ahead.
The service between the Pittsburg-Bay Point Station and Antioch is 10 miles long and adds two new stations.
The extension will be able to carry an estimated 2,400 people in each direction, per hour, during rush hours.
"This is a new dawn for transit in this part of the Bay Area," said BART Director Joel Keller, who serves East Contra Costa County and led efforts to bring the extension to the region. "Making this visionary project a reality took the long-term dedication of East County residents, and the commitment of many local, regional, state, and federal leaders."
BART to Antioch is part of the Highway 4 Widening Project, which expanded Highway 4 between Pittsburg and Brentwood. The combined project was designed to bring commute relief as soon as possible with minimal disruption to the traveling public.
The $525 million cost of the extension is about half of the $1 billion cost estimated for extending BART's traditional electric-powered line.
Quiet trains offer a smoother ride.
The extension marks the first time BART is using Diesel Multiple Units or DMU train cars.
They meet the US Government's strictest emissions standards and use renewable diesel from hydrogenated vegetable oil.
The DMUs run on their own tracks in the median of State Route 4 and connect with the existing BART system at a Transfer Platform just outside of the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station.
The trains boast a variety of amenities including digital signs, automated audio announcements, and modern climate control systems for those hot summer months.
The new Pittsburg Center Station is located at the Railroad Avenue overpass of Highway 4 in Pittsburg.
The new Antioch Station is located at 1600 Slatten Ranch Road in Antioch.
The BART to Antioch schedule has been incorporated into the bart.gov homepage.