SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Starting on September 11, Bay Area Rapid Transit will have a new service plan streamlining with riders’ post-pandemic commute patterns. BART’s goal is to make public transit more attractive and efficient after ridership numbers plummeted in recent years.

One of the biggest changes includes more service on nights and weekends without 30-minute wait times. “No BART rider will wait more than 20 minutes for a scheduled train, no matter what hour of the day, or day of the week,” BART officials wrote.

Service on the busiest weekday line, the Yellow Line, is increasing so that trains arrive every 10 minutes from Pittsburg/Bay Point.

Only the newest trains, dubbed “Fleet of the Future,” will run for the base schedule. Old trains, known as “Legacy Trains,” will retire. BART Chief Communications Officer Alicia Trost said “Fleet of the Future” trains are cleaner, have better surveillance cameras, and are more efficient than the old trains.

BART provided examples of what its new service schedule means for riders:

  • People who live near Pittsburg, Concord, Walnut Creek, and Lafayette along parts of Highways 4, 680, and 24, will have 10-minute BART service to San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond until 9 p.m. on weekdays.
  • People who live near Milpitas, Fremont, Union City, and other areas near Highway 880 will have 10-minute BART service to San Francisco until 9 p.m.
  • On weekends until 9 pm, the Richmond Line (Richmond – MacArthur) and the Berryessa Line (Lake Merritt – Berryessa) will have trains every 10 minutes that will get you to San Francisco.

Prior to the pandemic, BART served 405,000 trips on an average weekday. Today, BART is still struggling with unprecedented ridership pattern changes, partially due to remote work trends around the Bay Area.

BART General Manager Bob Powers is asking Bay Area residents to give trains a second chance. Powers said, “If you haven’t tried BART in the last few months, I encourage you to ditch your car for the day. We’ve made many improvements. We’ve made a commitment to a cleaner, safer ride that guarantees BART remains the safest way to travel.”

The Bay Area Council recently conducted interviews with 1,000 people from around the Bay Area and found 49 percent had a negative opinion about BART. The survey found that safety concerns were the primary reasons why people didn’t want to ride. Only 17% felt safe on the trains, and only 16% described the transit system as clean.

BART officials said female riders expressed feeling unsafe when cars are empty. In a move to enhance safety, trains will run shorter with fewer cars. Taller, stronger fare gates are being installed to deter fare evaders from hitching free rides. The transit agency is also doubling its police officer presence systemwide with more officers riding on trains.

BART’s new service schedule can be viewed and downloaded above.

The heavy-rail public transit system connects five counties — San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara — with 131 miles of track and 50 stations.