October BART ridership soaring

October BART ridership soaring

The number of people riding BART is soaring in October with last Friday’s ridership passing the 430,000 mark for the first time since the Giants’ 2010 World Series Victory Parade. 431,771 people took BART last Thursday,  the fifth busiest day in BART’s 40-year history. 41,897 traveled to and from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport Station, many of them to see the A’s host the Tigers and the Warriors play a preseason game.

“BART is once again proving to be the backbone of the Bay Area public transportation system,” said BART Board President John McPartland. “Not only are hundreds of thousands of people relying on BART to get them to work or school safely and reliably, but more people are choosing BART as a convenient and cost effective way to travel to recreational activities.”

The past weekend was BART’s busiest ever. 319, 484 people took BART Saturday, October 6, surpassing the previous Saturday/Sunday record of 278,586 set in 2007 when the Bay Bridge was closed.

Bay Bridge closures and the Giants’ parade are the only days in BART’s top ten busiest days that did not occur in October or September 2012. Because 70.5% of BART’s operating funds come from fare-paying passengers, higher ridership means a healthier bottom line.

“The increased revenue from our increasing ridership allows BART to expand our service to help meet the demand, within the constraints posed by our aging fleet and train control system,” said BART Board President Vice President Tom Radulovich. “For example, this past weekend we ran 54 extra train trips on Saturday. On Sunday, which is typically our lightest service day, our service was much more robust, more like a typical Saturday. Last month we extended direct Richmond - San Francisco-Millbrae service into the weekday evening hours. We are also reinvesting the fare dollars we earn from growing ridership into customer improvements like the new, easier-to-clean seats and floors, better maintenance, and other projects which improve safety, cleanliness, reliability, and comfort.”

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On weekdays, BART is using about 86% percent of its fleet of rail cars, among the highest percentage of use of any transit agency in the nation.  The remaining 14% are undergoing repairs or improvements, such as the interior modifications which create more space, cleaner flooring and better air circulation.  BART is working to replace the existing rail cars with the Fleet of the Future. The first 410 of the new 775 car fleet are on order.