BART sees record ridership this week – hopes for more

BART celebrated a few milestones this week, including the 51st anniversary of the transit system. 

BART also enjoyed hitting record ridership since the pandemic, seeing almost 193,000 riders on Wednesday this week. 

On Tuesday, BART saw its second-largest ridership since before the pandemic with just over 192,000 riders. 

BART is looking to increase ridership with cleaner stations, new trains and more police. 

San Francisco’s largest conference hosted by Salesforce, ‘Dreamforce’ along with the Giants’ home games against the Cleveland Guardians, both helped to advance the transit agency’s ridership numbers since the pandemic. 

This weekend, riders will see shorter wait times at its 50 stations and extended service will be offered on all five lines until 9 p.m. weeknights. 

Jim Allison, spokesperson for BART said, "so far our new schedule is in place, and we set a new record 193,000 riders."

Although Wednesday’s record ridership number is only 45% of pre-pandemic numbers, Allison said many efforts are underway to get folks back on the trains, including increasing the frequency of trains, but with fewer cars. 

The shorter trains are designed for safety’s sake with more people onboard, which is expected to deter crime. 

Allison acknowledged in an interview with KTVU, that some people won’t like the crowded trains, saying, "The one thing about shorter trains, we understand some folks may feel crowded, we’ll be monitoring that. "

"If we need to lengthen the trains, we’ll do that, but right now, we’re trying this out."

Commuter Keynan Depillow lives in Oakland and works as a baker in the city, so he takes early morning trains. 

He’s noticed more police on trains and in stations, and says, "There are people who get on (the train) who are not so welcoming, but for the most part, I feel safe on BART."

Another change is an improved schedule for weeknight and weekend service. Allison said, ‘’No more 30-minute wait times on the weekends!" 

Trains will be 20 minutes apart rather than 30 minutes as riders have come to expect on weekends. 

Raine Titus is a server at a restaurant in Oakland and a regular rider. 

She is nostalgic for the old trains, sharing they have more seats, but admitted to being pleased with the new changes. 

"The new trains are cleaner, and I do feel a lot safer. I do see a more police presence as well, so that’s pretty good!" 

Even though safety is being increased with officers patrolling trains and stations, according to Titus, staying alert is key when riding BART. 

She shared, "You should definitely always take precautions and keep your eyes open, and definitely, be aware of your surroundings!" 

With 50 stations and over 130 miles of track, another effort being utilized is more coordination with other transit agency schedules, such as Caltrain and VTA in the South Bay. 

This weekend, BART will have special late-night service for the Ed Sheeran concert at Levi’s stadium this Saturday. 

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. 

She can be reached at X (formerly Twitter): AlicesTake Instagram: WayIseesIt