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Bay Area Rapid Transit

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The heavy-rail public transit and subway system connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and suburbs in northern San Mateo County. BART operates five lines on of track with 44 stations in four counties. With an average weekday ridership of 379,300 passengers,[1] and 309,420 weekend day passengers,[2] BART is the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States.

BART is operated by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, a special-purpose transit district that was formed in 1957 to cover San Francisco, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County. The name BART is pronounced as a word, not as individual letters. In some ways, BART is the successor to the Key System, which ran streetcars throughout the East Bay and across the lower deck of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge until 1958.

BART has served as a rapid transit and commuter rail system, and provided an alternative transportation route to highway transportation, though its critics counter its success has taken four decades to come to fruition at a steep cost during the interim.[3] The system is being expanded to San Jose with the Silicon Valley BART extension.

Contents


History

Development and origins

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Some of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System's current coverage area was once served by the electrified streetcar and suburban train system called the Key System. This early 20th-century system once had regular trans-bay traffic across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. By the mid-1950s that system had been dismantled in favor of highway travel using automobiles and buses, given the explosive growth of expressway construction. A new rapid-transit system was proposed to take the place of the Key System during the late 1940s, and formal planning for it began in the 1950s.[4] Some funding was secured for the BART system in 1959,[5] and construction began a few years later. Passenger service began on September 11, 1972, initially just between MacArthur and Fremont.[6]

The new BART system was hailed by some authorities as a major step forward in subway technology,[7] though questions were asked concerning the safety of the system[8] and the huge expenditures necessary for the construction of the network.[9] All nine Bay Area counties were involved in the planning and envisioned to be connected by BART.

In addition to San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Marin County were initially intended to be part of the system. Before construction started, Santa Clara County Supervisors opted out in 1957, preferring instead to build expressways. In 1961, San Mateo County supervisors voted to leave BART, saying their voters would be paying taxes to carry mainly Santa Clara County residents.[10] Although Marin County originally voted in favor of BART participation at the 88% level, the district-wide tax base was weakened by the withdrawal of San Mateo County. Marin County was forced to withdraw in early 1962 because its marginal tax base could not adequately absorb its share of BART's projected cost. Another important factor in Marin's withdrawal was an engineering controversy over the feasibility of carrying trains across the Golden Gate Bridge.[11]

The extension of BART into Marin was estimated to be as late as 30 years after the opening of the basic system. Initially, a lower level under the Golden Gate Bridge was the preferred route. In 1970, the Golden Gate Transportation Facilities Plan considered rapid transit links to Marin County via a tunnel under the Golden Gate[12] or a new bridge parallel to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge[13] but neither of these plans was pursued.

Modernization

Since the mid 1990s, BART has been trying to modernize its system.[14] The fleet rehabilitation is part of this modernization; in 2009 fire alarms, fire sprinklers, yellow tactile platform edge domes, and cemented-mat rubber tiles were installed. The rough black tiles on the platform edge mark the location of the doorway of approaching trains, allowing passengers to wait at the right place to board. All faregates and ticket vending machines were replaced.

In late May 2007, BART stated its intention to improve non-peak (night and weekend) headways for each line to 15 minutes. The current 20-minute headways at these times is viewed as a psychological barrier to ridership.[15] In June 2007, BART temporarily reversed its position stating that the shortened wait times would likely not happen due to a $900,000 state revenue budget shortfall. Nevertheless, BART eventually confirmed the implementation of the plan by January 1, 2008.[16]

In 2008, BART announced that it would install solar power systems on the roofs of its train yards and maintenance facilities in Richmond and Hayward in addition to car ports with rooftop solar panels at its Orinda station.[17] The board lamented not being able to install them at all stations but it stated that Orinda was the only station with enough sun for them to make money from the project.[17]

Plans

As BART celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007, management announced their plans for the next 50 years. This includes adding a four-bore transbay tube beneath San Francisco Bay that would run parallel and south of the existing tunnel and emerge at the Transbay Transit Terminal to provide connecting service to Caltrain and the future California High Speed Rail system. The four-bore tunnel would provide two tunnels for BART and two tunnels for conventional/high-speed rail. BART's plan focus is on improving service and reliability in its core system (where density and ridership is highest), rather than extensions into far-flung suburbia. These plans include: a line that would continue from the Transbay Terminal through the South-of-Market, northwards on Van Ness and terminating in western San Francisco along the Geary corridor, the Presidio, or North Beach; a line along the Interstate Highway 680 corridor; and a fourth set of rail tracks through Oakland.[18]

Earthquake safety

A study dated September 14, 2010[19] shows that along with some Bay Area freeways, some of BART's overhead structures could be extensively damaged and potentially collapse in the event of a major earthquake, which is highly likely to happen in the Bay Area within the next thirty years.[20] Extensive seismic retrofit will be necessary to address many of these deficiencies, although one in particular, the penetration of the Hayward Fault Zone by the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, will be left for correction after any disabling earthquake. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, BART Trans Bay Tunnel rail service was closed only as long as it took to be reassured of track alignment and system integrity. Until December 3, 1989, BART service was expanded to 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in order to compensate for the closure of the Bay Bridge, which was significantly damaged by the earthquake.

Current system

The location of the BART's third rail changes relative to the train when it enters the station and meets the walkway crossing the trackway. On the left side of the trackway in the distance is the emergency walkway for the aerial trackway leading into the station the third rail is positioned opposite this walkway.
The location of the BART's third rail changes relative to the train when it enters the station and meets the walkway crossing the trackway. On the left side of the trackway in the distance is the emergency walkway for the aerial trackway leading into the station the third rail is positioned opposite this walkway.

BART revenue routes total with 44 stations.[21] The system uses a Indian gauge and ballastless track, as opposed to the standard gauge and railroad ties predominantly found in railroad systems in the United States. As a result, all maintenance and support equipment must be custom built. BART was the first systemwide deployment of ballastless track by a railway.

Trains can achieve a centrally controlled maximum speed of (although governed at ) and provide a system-wide average speed of with twenty-second station stopping times (dwell times). Trains operate at a minimum length of three cars to a maximum length of 10 cars, spanning the entire length of a platform.[22] At its maximum length of , BART has the longest trains of any metro system in the United States. The system also features car widths of (the same width as an Amtrak Metroliner), a maximum gradient of four percent, and a minimum curve radius of on the main lines .[23]

Electric current is delivered to the trains over a third rail.[24] Inside stations, the third rail is always on the side away from the passenger platform, except the middle platform at the San Francisco International Airport station. This reduces the danger of a passenger either falling on the third rail, or stepping onto it to climb back to the platform after falling off. On ground-level tracks the third rail alternates from one side of the track to the other, providing breaks in the third rail to allow for emergency evacuations.

Underground tunnels, aerial structures and the Transbay Tube have evacuation walkways and passageways to allow for train evacuation without exposing passengers to contact with the third rail, which is located as far away from these walkways as possible.[25] The voltage on the steel third rail is 1000 volts DC.

Many of the original system 1970s-era BART stations, especially the aerial stations, feature simple, Brutalist architecture, while the newer stations tend to be a mix of Neomodern and Postmodern architecture.

Ridership levels

During April 2012, average weekday ridership was 373,973 passengers,[26] making BART the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States. The busiest station was Embarcadero with 38,540 average weekday exits, followed by Montgomery Street with 37,425. The busiest station outside of San Francisco was Oakland City Center / 12th Street with 12,617 riders, followed by Downtown Berkeley with 12,615. The least busy station was North Concord / Martinez with 2,279 weekday exits.[26]

BART's one-day ridership record was set on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 with an estimated 522,200 passengers attending the San Francisco Giants' victory parade for their World Series championship.[27] This surpassed the record set one year earlier of 442,100 riders on Thursday, October 29, 2009, following an emergency closure of the of the Bay Bridge.[28] Before that, BART's one-day ridership record was 405,400 passengers, set on Monday, September 8, 2008 as commuters mixed with fans attending San Francisco Giants and Oakland Raiders games.[29]

BART set a Sunday ridership record of 247,936 on June 26, 2011, which coincided with the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and a San Francisco Giants game.[30]

Routes

All routes pass through Oakland, and all but the Richmond Fremont route (and the now defunct Union City Concord route) pass through the Transbay Tube into San Francisco and beyond to Daly City. Most segments of the BART system carry trains of more than one route.

Trains regularly operate on five routes. Unlike most other rapid transit and rail systems around the world, BART lines are generally not referred to by shorthand designations. Although the lines have been colored consistently on BART system maps for more than a decade, they are only occasionally referred to officially by color names.[31]

The five BART lines are generally identified on maps, schedules, and signage by the names of their termini:

  • Fremont Daly City, following a former Western Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Fremont to Oakland, operates Mondays through Saturdays daytime to early evening.
  • Dublin/Pleasanton Daly City, following Interstate-580 via Castro Valley to San Leandro, where it meets the Fremont-Richmond line, continuing into San Francisco.
  • Pittsburg/Bay Point SFO/Millbrae, following SR 4, a former Sacramento Northern Railway right-of way, and SR 24 from Bay Point to Oakland, and extending beyond Daly City to San Francisco International Airport. On weeknights and weekends, this line turns around at the airport to continue to Millbrae. This is the longest point-to-point line in the BART system.
  • Richmond Daly City/Millbrae, following a former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway right-of-way from Richmond to Berkeley, and extending beyond Daly City to Millbrae on weekdays daytime to early evening. On Saturdays, this line operates to Daly City only. The line from San Francisco through Daly City to Millbrae follows a former Southern Pacific railroad right-of-way, which is also served by Caltrain beyond San Bruno.
  • Richmond Fremont, coinciding with the Richmond Millbrae line and the Fremont Daly City line between their termini and Oakland, and operates daily.

Hours of operation

Map of evening and Sunday service. The BART system consists of five lines, but most of the network consists of more than one line on the same track. Trains on each line run every fifteen minutes on weekdays and twenty minutes during the evenings, weekends and holidays; some stations in Oakland and San Francisco are served by as many as four lines, and could have service as frequently as every three to four minutes.

BART service begins around 4:00 am on weekdays, 6:00 am on Saturdays, and 8:00 am on Sundays. Service ends every day near midnight with station closings timed to the last train at station. Two of the five lines, the Millbrae Richmond and SF/Daly City Fremont lines, do not have night (after 7 pm) or Sunday service, but all stations remain accessible by transfer from the other lines.[32][33][34]

The All Nighter bus service is available when BART is closed. All but six BART stations are served (as well as eight Caltrain stations). BART tickets are not accepted on these buses, and each of the four bus systems charge their own fare, which can be up to $3.50; a four-system ride could cost as much as $9.50 as of 2007.[35]

Fares

Ticket vending machines at the Powell Street Station
Ticket vending machines at the Powell Street Station
Fares on BART are comparable to those of commuter rail systems and are higher than those of most metros, especially for long trips. The fare is based on a formula that takes into account both the length and speed of the trip. A surcharge is added for trips traveling through the Transbay Tube, and/or through San Mateo County (which access to includes San Francisco International Airport), which is not a BART member. Passengers can use refillable paper-plastic-composite tickets,[36] on which fares are stored via a magnetic strip, to enter and exit the system. The exit faregate prints the remaining balance on the ticket each time the passenger exits the station. A paper ticket can be refilled at a ticket machine, the remaining balance on any ticket can be applied towards the purchase of a new one, or a card is captured by the exit gate when the balance reaches zero; multiple low value cards can be combined to create a larger value card but only at specific ticket exchange locations, located at some BART stations.[37] BART relies on unused ticket values, particularly of patrons discarding low-value cards, as a source of revenue, estimated by some to be as high as $9.9 million.[38]

A standard-fare BART ticket. The initial purchased fare is printed parallel to the magnetic strip, and the card's remaining balance is printed on the left, updated upon each exit.
A standard-fare BART ticket. The initial purchased fare is printed parallel to the magnetic strip, and the card's remaining balance is printed on the left, updated upon each exit.

TransLink, a contactless smart card that contains stored value that can be used for fare payments, had been launched in late 2006 on AC Transit, Dumbarton Express, and Golden Gate Transit lines.[39][40][41] It was introduced on BART, SF Muni, and Caltrain in May 2009,[42][43] and was renamed to Clipper card in 2010. BART had previously promoted the EZ Rider card, a pilot program using similar technology. BART contracted with Cubic Transportation Systems to replace all the faregates with ones that have smart card readers installed.[44]

The BART minimum fare of $1.75 is charged for trips (except San Mateo County trips) under .[45] The maximum one-way fare including all possible surcharges is $10.90, the journey between Pittsburg/Bay Point and San Francisco International Airport. The farthest possible trip, from Pittsburg/Bay Point to Millbrae, costs less because of the additional charge added to airport trips.[46] Passengers without sufficient fare to complete their journey must use an AddFare machine to pay the remaining balance in order to exit the station.

BART uses a system of five different color-coded tickets for regular fare, special fare, and discount fare to select groups as follows:[47]

  • Blue tickets General: the most common type, includes high-value discount tickets
  • Red tickets Disabled Persons and children aged 4 to 12: 62.5% discount, special ID required (children under the age of 4 ride free)
  • Green tickets Seniors age 65 or over: 62.5% discount, proof of age required for purchase
  • Orange tickets Student: special, restricted-use 50% discount ticket for students age 13 18 currently enrolled in high or middle school
  • BART Plus special high-value ticket with 'flash-pass' privileges with regional transit agencies, including MUNI's buses.
  • Clipper card A plastic smart card fare program that replaced the similar EZ Rider and TransLink.

Unlike many other rapid transit systems, BART does not have an unlimited ride pass, and the only discount provided to the public is a 6.25% discount when "high value tickets" are purchased with fare values of $48.00 and $64.00, for prices of $45.00 and $60.00 respectively. Amtrak's Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins trains sell $10.00 BART tickets on-board in the caf cars for only $8.00,[48][49] resulting in a 20% discount. A 62.5% discount is provided to seniors, the disabled, and children age 5 to 12. Middle and high school students 13 to 18 may obtain a 50% discount if their school participates in the BART program; these tickets are intended to be used only between the students' home station and the school's station and for transportation to and from school events. The tickets can be used only on weekdays. These School Tickets and BART Plus tickets enjoy a last-ride bonus where if the remaining value is greater than $0.05; the ticket can be used one last time for a trip of any distance. Most special discounted tickets must be purchased at selected vendors and not at ticket machines. The Bart Plus tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines.

The San Francisco Muni "A" monthly pass provides unlimited rides within San Francisco, with no fare credit applied for trips outside of the City. San Francisco pays $1.02 for each trip taking under this arrangement.[50]

Ticket gates with the orange triangular doors retracted for a Spare the Air Day
Ticket gates with the orange triangular doors retracted for a Spare the Air Day
Fares are enforced by the station agent, who monitors activity at the fare gates adjacent to the window and at other fare gates through closed circuit television and faregate status screens located in the agent's booth. All stations are staffed with at least one agent at all times.

Proposals to simplify the fare structure abound. A flat fare that disregards distance has been proposed by BART director Joel Keller. The lesser extreme involves the implementation of a simplified structure that would create fare bands or zones. The implementation of either scheme would demote the use of distance-based fares and shift the fare-box recovery burden to the urban riders in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and away from the suburban riders of East Contra Costa, Southern Alameda, and San Mateo Counties, where density is lowest, and consequently, operational cost is highest.[51]

Facilities

Cell phone and Wi-Fi

In May 2004, BART became the first transit system in the United States to offer cellular telephone communication to passengers of all major wireless carriers on its trains underground.[52] Service was made available for customers of Verizon Wireless, Sprint/Nextel, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile in and between the four San Francisco Market Street stations from Civic Center to Embarcadero. In December 2009, service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube, thus providing continuous cellular coverage between West Oakland and Balboa Park.[53] In August 2010, service was expanded to all underground stations in Oakland (19th Street, 12th Street/Oakland City Center, and Lake Merritt).[54] The eventual goal is to provide uninterrupted cellular coverage of the entire BART system.

Starting on February 20, 2007 BART entered into an agreement to permit a beta test of Wi-Fi Internet access for travelers. It initially included the four San Francisco downtown stations; Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center. The testing and demonstration also included above ground testing to trains at BART's Hayward Test Track. The testing and deployment was extended into the underground interconnecting tubes between the four downtown stations and further. The successful demonstration and testing provided for a ten year contract with WiFi Rail, Inc. for the services throughout the BART right of way.[55] In 2008 the Wi-Fi service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube.[56]

In 2011 during the Charles Hill killing and aftermath BART attracted controversy by disabling cell phone service on the network to hamper demonstrators.[57]

Library-a-Go-Go

A book vending machine at the del Norte station. Since 2008 the district has been adding Library-a-Go-Go vending machines that give out books.[58] The Contra Costa County Library machine added at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station in 2008.[58] The $US100,000 machine, imported from Sweden, was the first in the nation and was followed by one at the El Cerrito del Norte station in 2009.[58][59][60] Later in 2011 a Peninsula Library System machine was added at the Millbrae Station.[58][61]

Connecting services

AC Transit bus stop at Bay Fair Station
AC Transit bus stop at Bay Fair Station
BART has direct connections to two regional rail services: Caltrain, which provides service between San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy, at the Millbrae Station, and Amtrak's Capitol Corridor, which runs from Sacramento to San Jose, at the Richmond and Coliseum/Oakland Airport stations.

In addition, BART has connection to the Altamont Commuter Express commuter rail service via shuttle at the Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton and West Dublin/Pleasanton stations.

BART connects to San Francisco's local light rail system, the Muni Metro. The upper track level of BART's Market Street subway, which in plans from 1960 would have carried BART trains to the Twin Peaks Tunnel,[62] was turned over to Muni and both agencies share the Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, Powell and Civic Center stations. Some Muni Metro lines connect with (or pass nearby) the BART system at the Balboa Park and Glen Park stations.

Connecting services via bus

A number of bus transit services connect to BART, which, while managed by separate agencies, are integral to the successful functioning of the system. The primary providers include the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), AC Transit, SamTrans, County Connection, and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Golden Gate Transit). Until 1997, BART ran its own "BART Express" connector buses,[63] which ran to eastern Alameda County and far eastern and western areas of Contra Costa County; these routes were later devolved to sub-regional transit agencies such as Tri Delta Transit and the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (WHEELS) or, in the case of Dublin/Pleasanton service, replaced by a full BART extension.

Other services connect to BART including the Emery Go Round (Emeryville), WestCAT (north-western Contra Costa County), San Leandro LINKS, Napa VINE, Rio Vista Delta Breeze, Dumbarton Express, Benicia Breeze, Union City Transit, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in Silicon Valley.

Several commuter and interregional bus services connect to BART including the San Joaquin RTD Commuter (Stockton), Tri Delta Transit (Contra Costa County), Greyhound, California Shuttle Bus, Valley of the Moon Commute Club, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, and Modesto Area Express BART Express.

Cars

BART hosts car sharing locations at many stations, a program pioneered by City CarShare. Riders can transfer from BART and complete their journeys by car. BART offers long-term airport parking through a third-party vendor[64] at most East Bay stations. Travelers must make an on-line reservation in advance and pay the daily fee of $5 before they can leave their cars at the BART parking lot. Many BART stations offer parking.[65]

Airports

BART connects directly to the San Francisco International Airport; connections are available to AirTrain for those not departing or arriving from the international terminal. BART is connected to Oakland International Airport via AirBART shuttle buses,[66] which bring travelers to and from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. These buses are operated by BART and accept exact-change BART fare cards in addition to exact change.

The Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) is planned as a people mover that would directly connect from BART and Amtrak at the Coliseum station to the terminal buildings at Oakland International Airport. Unlike the AirTrain, the Oakland Airport Connector would be operated by BART, integrated into the BART fare system with standard BART ticket gates located at the entrance to the station at the Airport end of the people mover.

When built, the Oakland Airport Connector will replace AirBART buses. The connector s automated people movers (APMs) will be electrically powered and operate on a fixed, elevated guideway. The APMs will arrive at the Coliseum BART station every 4 minutes and are designed to transport travelers to the airport in about eight minutes with an on-time performance of more than 99 percent.

In early 2010, the project lost $70 million of federal stimulus funding because the Metropolitan Transportation Commission had "equity concerns" related to the planned high fares (up to $6 each way) on the connector, and the plan was in breach of Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.[67]

Federal and state funding for the OAC became complete in September 2010, and the groundbreaking was held October 20.[68] Design, utility relocation and construction combined, for the $484 million project is expected to take 3 years to complete.[69][70]

Organization and management

2012 statistics
Number of vehicles 670
Initial system cost $1.6 billion
Equivalent cost in 2004 dollars (replacement cost) $15 billion
Hourly passenger capacity 15,000
Maximum daily capacity 360,000
Average weekday ridership 365,510
Annual operating revenue $379.10 million
Annual expenses $619.10 million
Annual profits (losses) ($240.00 million)
Rail cost/passenger mile (excluding capital costs) $0.332

Governance

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District is a special governmental agency created by the State of California consisting of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City and County of San Francisco. San Mateo County, which hosts six BART stations, is not part of the BART District. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors with each of the nine directors representing a specific geographic area within the BART district. BART has its own police force.[71]

While the district includes all of the cities and communities in its jurisdiction, some of these cities do not have stations on the BART system. This has caused tensions among property owners in cities like Livermore who pay BART taxes but must travel outside the city to receive BART service.[72] In areas like Fremont, the majority of commuters do not commute in the direction that BART would take them (many Fremonters commute to San Jose, where there is currently no BART service). This would be alleviated with the completion of a BART-to-San Jose extension project and the opening of the Berryessa Station in San Jose.

Budget

In 2005, BART required nearly $300 million in funds after fares. About 37% of the costs went to maintenance, 29% to actual transportation operations, 24% to general administration, 8% to police services, and 4% to construction and engineering. In 2005, 53% of the budget was derived from fares, 32% from taxes, and 15% from other sources, including advertising, station retail space leasing, and parking fees.[73] BART's farebox recovery ratio of 61% is relatively high for a U.S. public transit agency operating over such long distances with high frequency.

Rolling stock

A refurbished A car interior with carpeted flooring.
A refurbished A car interior with carpeted flooring.
Exterior of a BART C car at Daly City station
Exterior of a BART C car at Daly City station
Interior of a C1 car with an upgraded spray-on composite flooring.
Interior of a C1 car with an upgraded spray-on composite flooring.
The interior of a C2 car with carpeted flooring. A flip-up seat is visible on the left.
The interior of a C2 car with carpeted flooring. A flip-up seat is visible on the left.
A Demonstration Car (modified C2 car) with a designated bike space in the area normally reserved for passengers in wheelchairs; the front-facing seat on the left-hand side of the car has been removed to accommodate bicycles, in turn, the aisle-facing seat on the right-hand side near the operator's cab has been removed to accommodate wheelchairs. This car also has hand straps.
A Demonstration Car (modified C2 car) with a designated bike space in the area normally reserved for passengers in wheelchairs; the front-facing seat on the left-hand side of the car has been removed to accommodate bicycles, in turn, the aisle-facing seat on the right-hand side near the operator's cab has been removed to accommodate wheelchairs. This car also has hand straps.

BART operates four types of cars, built from three separate orders, totaling 669 cars.

To run a typical peak morning commute, BART requires 579 cars. Of those, 541 are scheduled to be in active service; the other 38 are used to build up four spare trains (essential for maintaining on-time service). At any one time, the remaining 90 cars are in for repair, maintenance, or some type of planned modification work.[74]

The A and B cars were built from 1968 to 1971 by Rohr Industries, an aerospace manufacturing company that had recently started mass-transit equipment manufacturing. The A cars were designed as leading or trailing cars only, with an aerodynamic fiberglass operator's cab housing train control equipment and BART's two-way communication system, and extending longer than the B- and C-cars. A and B cars can seat 60 passengers comfortably, and under crush load, carry over 200 passengers. B cars have no operator's cab and are used in the middle of trains to carry passengers only. Currently, BART operates 59 A cars and 389 B cars.[75][76]

The C cars were built by Alstom between 1987 and 1989.[77] They have a fiberglass operator's cab and control and communications equipment like the A cars, but do not have the aerodynamic nose, allowing them to be used as middle cars as well. This allows faster train-size changes without having to move the train to a switching yard. C cars can seat 56 passengers and under crush load accommodate over 200 passengers. The latest order, from Morrison-Knudsen (now Washington Group International), was for C2 cars, which are the same as C cars, but have an interior with a blue/gray motif, in contrast to the previous blue and brown colors. C2 cars can seat 56 passengers, and under crush load can carry over 200 passengers. Since the purchase of C2s, the original C cars are also referred to as C1 cars. Currently, BART operates 150 C1 cars and 80 C2 cars. The "C" cars have a bright white segment as the final approximately two feet of the car at one end.

In 1995, BART contracted with ADtranz (acquired by Bombardier Transportation in 2001) to refurbish and overhaul the 439 original Rohr A- and B-cars, updating the old brown fabric seats to the less-toxic and easier-to-clean,[4] light-blue polyurethane seats in use today and bringing the older cars to the same level of interior amenities as the C2 fleet. The project was completed in 2002. All BART cars have upholstered seats and nearly all cars have carpeting except for some C1 and/or C2 cars. Because one of the original design goals was for all BART riders to be seated, the older cars have fewer provisions such as grab bars for standing passengers. Flip-up seats (found in C2 cars) were excluded from the refurbishment, in order to provide designated areas for luggage, wheelchairs and bicycles. The carpeted flooring in most of the C1 cars was replaced with spray-on composite flooring after passengers complained that the cars were unclean.

The A, B, and C cars were all given 3-digit numbers originally, but when refurbished 1000 was added to the number of each individual A/B car (e.g. car 633 would become 1633). The C2 cars are numbered in the 2500 series; the C/C1 cars still have 3-digit numbers. BART's livery has remained effectively unchanged throughout its history.

Prior to rebuilding,[78] the Direct Current (DC) traction motors used on the 439 Rohr BART cars were model 1463 with chopper controls from Westinghouse, who also built the automatic train control system for BART. The Rohr cars were rebuilt with ADtranz model 1507C 3-phase Alternating Current (AC) traction motors with IGBT inverters. The Westinghouse motors are still in use on the Alstom C (C1) and Morrison-Knudsen C2 cars and the motors that were removed from the Rohr cars were retained as spare motors for use on them. The HVAC system on the Rohr BART cars before rehabilitation were built by Thermo King, when it was a subsidiary of Westinghouse; it is now a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand. The current HVAC systems on the rebuilt Rohr-built Gen 1 cars were built by Westcode.[79]

It was reported in March 2011 that several strains of molds and bacteria were found on fabric seats on BART trains, even after wiping with antiseptic. These included bacteria from fecal contamination.[80] In April, BART announced it would spend $2 million in the next year to replace the dirty seats.[81]

Noise

Many BART passengers have noted that the system is noisy, often exceeding 100 dB, especially in the Transbay Tube between San Francisco and Oakland, but in other places as well. However, chief BART spokesperson Linton Johnson has stated that BART averages 70 80 dB, below the danger zone, and according to a 1997 study by the National Academy of Sciences, BART ranks as among the quietest transit systems in the nation. Critics have countered that this study analyzed straight, above-ground portions at 30 mph of different systems throughout the country which may not be representative of actual operating conditions (much of BART is under ground, curvy - even in the Transbay Tube, and has much faster peak operating speeds than many other systems in the nation). [82]

The noise is caused by the wheels of the rolling stock damaging the surface of the track, causing "corrugation". The process by which this occurs is as follows: 1. A pair of flat wheels attached to one another directly with an axle go through a turn with the same rotations per minute. As a result, the wheel on the inside track must slip to make up for the difference in the length of the track. 2. This slippage causes the wheel to wear and become uneven. 3. This unevenness of the wheel creates corrugation, not only on the track in the curve, but elsewhere in the system as well. The corrugation of the rails must be continuously grinded away to remedy this situation. However, maintenance costs money, and deferred maintenance as a result of tight budgets results in increasing noise levels.

Many trains with wheels directly connected to each other through an axle have this problem, but it can be partially mitigated by use of canted wheels, allowing, in effect, variable wheel diameter to compensate for differing track lengths during turns. BART rolling stock has flat wheels, causing slippage and the resulting noise from the increased corrugation. New rolling stock with flat wheels rotating at a variable rate in turns instead of being directly connected via the axle, along with a final re-grinding of the track to ensure that it is no longer pitted, would greatly reduce noise levels.

Future stock

A computer graphics rendering of what the new BART car will look like.
A computer graphics rendering of what the new BART car will look like.
To speed up service, BART is preparing to introduce new, three-door cars. BART received proposals from five suppliers, and on May 10, 2012 awarded a $896.3 million contract to Canadian train car manufacturer Bombardier Transportation for an order of 410 new train cars, broken down into the base order for 260 cars and the first option order for 150 cars.[83][84] In the future, BART is expected to purchase an additional 365 cars, broken down into three options for 150, 100, and 115 cars respectively, for a total fleet size of 775 new train cars. According to the contract, at least two-thirds of the contract s amount will be spent on American parts.

The 10 car test pilot train is to be delivered in 2015, with the first 60 cars are expected to be in service by the end of 2017.[85]

Comparison with other rail transit systems

BART, like other transit systems of the same era, endeavored to connect outlying suburbs with job centers in Oakland and San Francisco by building out lines that paralleled established commute routes of the region's freeway system.[86] The majority of BART's service area, as measured by percentage of system length, consists of low-density suburbs. Unlike the New York City Subway or the London Underground, individual BART lines were not designed to provide frequent local service, as evidenced by the system's current maximum achievable headway of 13.33 minutes per line through the quadruple interlined section. Muni provides local light-rail and subway service within San Francisco city limits and runs with smaller headways than BART.

BART could be characterized as a "commuter subway," since it has many characteristics of a regional commuter rail service, such as lengthy lines that extend to the far reaches of suburbia with significant distances between stations.[87][88] BART also possesses some of the qualities of a metro system[89] in the urban areas of San Francisco and downtown Oakland, where multiple lines converge, it takes on the characteristics of an urban metro, including short headways and transfer opportunities to other lines. Urban stations are as close as a half mile (800 m) apart and have combined 2 to 5-minute service intervals at peak times. On the whole, BART is very similar in character to the Washington Metro, which opened 4 years after BART and likewise features outdoor, far-flung suburban stations in addition to underground, closely spaced urban stations, with the latter receiving more frequent service than the former.

Future expansion and extension

Expansion projects for the Bay Area Rapid Transit have existed ever since the opening of the project. As well as the Oakland Airport connector, these projects include the Warm Springs extension,[90] the San Jose extension, eBART, 'tBART': I-580/Tri-Valley Corridor, 'wBART': I-80/West Contra Costa Corridor, and numerous infill stations along the route.

On the Fremont line the Warm Springs extension is being built. It will be a precursor to Phase I of the San Jose extension that will begin construction in mid-2012, with stations at Milpitas and Berryessa.[91][92] Heading east from Pittsburg/Bay Point, two additional stations are under construction and will be added to the system using a diesel multiple unit "eBART" train system with stations at Pittsburg and Antioch.[93]

BART Silicon Valley expansion

This segment will extend past the current Warm Springs project in two phases. The first phase is known as the Berryessa Extension, which commences at the south end of the Warm Springs Extension and extends southeastward across the Alameda-Santa Clara county line for ten miles toward downtown San Jose with stops at Irvington, Milpitas and possibly Calaveras. The segment will terminate at Berryessa Station in San Jose. Construction of the second segment (downtown San Jose to Santa Clara) will be delayed pending future funding for the more expensive underground segment. Once funding has been secured, the BART line will extend southwest for roughly three miles, then turning near HP Pavilion at a Diridon/Arena station to the northwest. The new terminus will be Santa Clara station.

Oakland Airport Connector

Construction of the 3.2 mile (5.2 km) cable-drawn link to Oakland International Airport from the Oakland Coliseum Station began in 2010, after the groundbreaking ceremony was held.[94][95] The project was originally to cost 130 million dollars but is now a 500 million dollar project.[95] It is estimated that it will be complete and replace the slower Air-BART buses by 2014 and create 2,500 jobs.[95] This train will be fully integrated into the BART fare system's paid area and add the one station while leaving the possibility of adding others along Hegenberger Avenue as future infill stations.

Incidents

Fatal electrical fire

In January 1979, an electrical fire occurred on a train as it was passing through the Transbay Tube. One firefighter (Lt. William Elliott, 50, of the Oakland Fire Department) was killed in the effort to extinguish the blaze. Since then, safety regulations have been updated.[96]

Death of worker James Strickland

On October 14, 2008, track inspector James Strickland was struck and killed by a train as he was walking along a section of track between the Concord and Pleasant Hill stations. Strickland's death started an investigation into BART's safety alert procedures.[97] At the time of the accident, BART had assigned trains headed in opposite directions to a shared track for routine maintenance. BART came under further fire in February 2009 for allegedly delaying payment of death benefits to Strickland's family.[98]

BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant III

On January 1, 2009, a BART Police officer, Johannes Mehserle, fatally shot Oscar Grant III.[99][100]

Eyewitnesses gathered direct evidence of the shooting with video cameras, which were later submitted to and disseminated by media outlets and watched hundreds of thousands of times[101] in the days following the shooting. Violent demonstrations occurred protesting the shooting.[102]

Mehserle was arrested and charged with murder, to which he pled not guilty. Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a US $25 million wrongful death claim against the district on behalf of Grant's daughter and girlfriend.[103] Oscar Grant III's father also filed a lawsuit claiming that the death of his son deprived him of his son's companionship.

Mehserle's trial was subsequently moved to Los Angeles following concerns that he would be unable to get a fair trial in Alameda County. On July 8, 2010, Mehserle was found guilty on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.[104] He was released on June 13, 2011 and is now on parole.[105]

2011 Charles Hill killing and aftermath

On July 3, 2011, two officers of the BART Police shot and killed Charles Hill at Civic Center Station in San Francisco. Hill was allegedly carrying a knife.[106]

On August 12, 2011, BART shut down cellphone services on the network for three hours in an effort to hamper possible protests against the shooting[107][108] and to keep communications away from protesters at the Civic Center station in San Francisco.[109] The shutdown caught the attention of Leland Yee and international media, as well as drawing comparisons to the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in several articles and comments.[110] Antonette Bryant, the union president for BART, added that "BART have lost our confidence and are putting rider and employee safety at risk."[111]

Members of Anonymous broke into BART's website and posted names, phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail information on the Anonymous website.[112][113]

On August 15, 2011, there was more disruption in service at BART stations in downtown San Francisco.[114][115][116] The San Francisco Examiner reported that the protests were as a result of the shootings, including that of Oscar Grant.[117][118] Demonstrations were announced by several activists, which eventually resulted in disruptions to service. The protesters have stated that they do not want their protests to results in closures, and accuse the BART police of using the protests as an excuse for disruption.[119] Protesters vowed to continue their protests every Monday until their demands are met.

On August 29, 2011, a coalition of nine public interest groups lead by Public Knowledge filed an Emergency Petition asking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to declare "that the actions taken by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District ( BART ) on August 11, 2011 violated the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, when it deliberately interfered with access to Commercial Mobile Radio Service ( CMRS ) by the public" and "that local law enforcement has no authority to suspend or deny CMRS, or to order CMRS providers to suspend or deny service, absent a properly obtained order from the Commission, a state commission of appropriate jurisdiction, or a court of law with appropriate jurisdiction".[120][121]

In December 2011 BART adopted a new "Cell Service Interruption Policy" that only allows shutdowns of cell phone services within BART facilities "in the most extraordinary circumstances that threaten the safety of District passengers, employees and other members of public, the destruction of District property, or the substantial disruption of public transit service."[122] According to a spokesperson for BART, under the new policy the wireless phone system would not be turned off under circumstances similar to those in August 2011. Instead police officers would arrest individuals who break the law.[123]

In February 2012 the San Francisco District Attorney concluded that the BART Police Officer that shot and killed Charles Hill at the Civic Center BART station the previous July "acted lawfully in self defense" and will not face charges for the incident. A federal lawsuit filed against BART in January by Charles Hill's brother was proceeding.[124]

In March 2012 the FCC requested public comment on the question of whether or when the police and other government officials can intentionally interrupt cellphone and Internet service to protect public safety.[123]

See also

Notes

References

Further reading

External links

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