BART increasing service 4 weeks early starting August 2; not soon enough for A's fans

BART trains will once again roll until midnight earlier than expected in the latest transit development announced by officials on Thursday. But it's not soon enough for A's fans who want to see Friday night's post-game fireworks.

For decades, the Oakland A's and BART have enjoyed a fairly solid marriage.
But now there appears to be a rift in the relationship.

"We are very disappointed BART is not operating after our game," said team president Dave Kaval. Kaval is unhappy that BART will not be operating late trains Friday night to accommodate fans who want to watch the popular fireworks show after the game with the Boston Red Sox.

Ridership, on weekends especially, has steadily increased as the pandemic has eased. BART had said their service would return to pre-pandemic levels starting August 30. Now they've moved their timeline up by nearly four weeks to August 2

The until midnight service increase is for Monday through Saturday. On weekdays, riders can expect trains from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. with 15 minute frequency until 8 p.m. 

Saturday service will run from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. with more trips, the agency said.

Sunday service will not go late night and will be set at 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. 

In the meantime, BART in a Twitter thread said, from July 15 through July 31, they will run limited late night service with trains leaving downtown San Francisco at 11:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

They are aiming to please late-night workers who have to make the trans-bay commute, as well as people who want to partake in some of the returning nightlife after a lengthy pandemic lockdown.

Kaval, who has expressed a keen interest in relocating the team, is not pleased. On Thursday the A's halted ticket sales for their July 2 home game due to a lack of public transit. The problem is, there won't be enough parking if everyone drives. Kaval has targeted the agency, giving them some high-profile criticism on Twitter on Thursday.

On Twitter he wrote, "This is in best interests of having an enjoyable fan experience." The A's put out a statement Thursday afternoon that said they've sold 30,000 tickets for the event, which will include post-game fireworks. Those fans are encouraged to buy a $30 cashless payment parking pass. 

"We really need to see organizations like this step and provide service on days like this, or it just doesn't become a viable transportation system," Kaval said.
The A's were expecting 35,000 fans.

BART has posted guidance for A's night game ridership, where they say a good rule of thumb is to be on the Coliseum Station platform by 10:10 p.m. In addition, they specifically state if you planned on taking BART home for the July 2 ballgame, "please arrange alternative transportation options to return home." 

Robert Cote is an A's fan who is planning to take BART from his home in San Francisco. "I don't think I will stay for the fireworks. I don't really want to pay $50 for an Uber," he said.

The transit agency has since apologized over the kerfuffle, stating they had asked to stay open later for Friday's game, but were told they "operationally cannot." 

"The fireworks come far after the game ends. We can't keep the stations open that long. We just don't have the staff to do it for all stations," said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

"We know this is a huge letdown. We still provide postgame service tomorrow but it's before the fireworks show," BART posted to Twitter.

BART did run later trains one night during a Giants game in San Francisco.

"We did for that one game, which was the Bay Bridge Series, so both sets of fans got to enjoy it. But it only stopped at seven stops," Trost said.

"It's disappointing. But it's also infuriating," said Cote.

The last BART train is scheduled to leave the Coliseum Friday at 10:27 p.m.