This week Capitol Corridor activated a light at the Richmond station that will help BART riders not miss Capitol Corridor trains by signaling to train drivers that riders are on their way. The light is activated when a BART train pulls into Richmond station, and eastbound Capitol Corridor trains will hold for 2 minutes so that riders have sufficient time to make the connection. This change was inspired by a constituent who told me about barely missing Capitol Corridor trains because of late BART trains. Read more about this improvement: https://www.capitolcorridor.org/…/capitol-corridor-courtes…/
I'm in New York for a transit meeting, and yesterday I spent hours at the New York Transit Museum, which was even better than I had imagined. It's in an old subway station and I had fun exploring all the old subway cars. I also spent a long time at the exhibit about responding to crisis - it made me think a lot about how BART would respond. I was amazed to learn that after 9/11 MTA released new paper transit maps daily, since the bus and subway service was constantly changing. With smartphones and social media becoming more ubiquitous since then, MTA has shared online updates about service changes before and after major disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.
Today I rode the inaugural trip of the first new BART train, along with BART Board President Robert Raburn, many BART staff, city, state, and regional leaders, and dedicated BART riders. The first 10 new train cars are now in service, and BART is in the process of testing the next 10. The improvements on the new cars are huge, including three doors instead of two, a more efficient layout for much more standing room, a much quieter ride due to the micro-plug doors and new wheel profile, bike parking, clear automated audio announcements, a much better air conditioning system, and much more. Look out for the new BART cars and let me know what you think when you ride them.
Thrilled that the first new BART cars will begin carrying BART riders tomorrow! Huge improvements in the new cars - my favorite is 3 doors instead of 2 for quicker loading and spreading people throughout the cars. What's your favorite feature of the new cars?
There will be Women's Marches in Oakland, San Francisco, and other Bay Area cities this Saturday, January 20th, and BART is preparing for the crowds. BART will run longer trains and have special event trains ready to deploy as needed (these special trains don't appear in the BART schedule so check real time arrival information to find out when the next train is coming). Please load your Clipper card or buy a paper ticket ahead of time - last year there were long lines to purchase tickets.
More details on BART service this Saturday: https://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2018/news20180112-0
Serving as BART Board President this year has been incredibly fulfilling and at times challenging. I'm proud of how our Board and staff pulled together to address these challenges. Congratulations to incoming President Robert Raburn and Vice President Nick Josefowitz! I look forward to their leadership in 2018.
Yesterday BART Director Lateefah Simon and I joined Richmond Mayor Tom Butt to cut the ribbon on Richmond Transit Village – Phase II. At the press conference I spoke about BART's plans to build 20,000 housing units at BART stations by 2040. Richmond's transit village will help us reach that goal, with plans for 1,000 housing units at or next to the BART station. Director Simon spoke about the important access improvements made to the station, including a new elevator and an improved drop-off area. Thanks to Mayor Butt and Richmond for partnering with BART on these important projects!
I'm thrilled about today's unanimous BART Board approval of two new renewable energy contracts for wind and solar. These contracts will dramatically increase BART's renewable energy usage - to 90% of BART's electricity portfolio in 2021 and 75% in 2025, when energy usage is projected to increase. Moving to renewable energy will save BART an estimated $174 million over 20 years.
Read more about this renewable energy procurement: https://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2017/news20171207-1
One of my campaign commitments was to institute lower BART fares for low-income riders. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been working on a study on regional-means based fares, with the goal of having a consistent regional standard for fare discount policies across the many transit agencies in the Bay Area. This Thursday there will be an initial presentation on this effort at the BART Board meeting. This is our first step towards lower BART fares for low-income riders.
Read the presentation here: https://drive.google.com/…/13FGVAwiaNZP8HE8fg8ahxEOkUs…/view
I really enjoyed the most recent BART podcast episode featuring an interview with BART station agent Felicia, who has been a station agent for 11 years. The interview covers some sweet stories of Felicia helping riders, and also some of the many challenges station agents face. I highly recommend listening to it and subscribing to the podcast for behind the scenes BART stories.
Every time I wear my BART Pride shirt, someone asks me where to buy them. Starting today, you can buy yours for $20 at the customer service center at Lake Merritt BART station, open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am - 5 pm. Buy yours before they run out!
We had a great Capitol Corridor Board meeting today. It's amazing to see how much ridership and revenue have grown over the past few years. It's also exciting to see huge growth in non-automobile access to stations, including a 33% increase in riders walking to stations in just one year.
Yesterday BART's carpool program in partnership with Scoop launched at the Orinda and Rockridge stations. Carpoolers using the Scoop app are guaranteed a parking space at the Orinda or Rockridge BART stations, where non-permit parking fills up by 7:30 am. These stations join the Dublin/Pleasanton, San Bruno, Millbrae, Pleasant Hill, and Concord stations in the new carpool program. The program will be implemented at all BART stations with parking lots by next summer. Read more at the link below.
Our last evening BART Board meeting of the year will be next Thursday. Please join us!
To encourage greater participation from the public, the BART Board of Directors periodically schedules its meetings to occur in the evenings.
The next of these... night meetings will be Thursday, Oct. 26, at 5 pm in the BART Board Room, Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, Third Floor, 344 20th St. in Oakland.
This video shares the story of BART station agent William Cromartie, who greets riders with handshakes, fist bumps, and hugs at MacArthur and West Oakland stations. I frequently see William and sometimes chat with him at MacArthur BART, and I've always been impressed by how friendly he is and how much he enjoys his job. If this video makes you smile - and I know it will - please take a moment to share it.