BART’s a busy place these days, with many new initiatives for change in the works.
As your BART director for District 1, I am honored by the invitation to share BART news here with Concord-Clayton Pioneer readers.
Last month was the annual public BART board workshop, an opportunity for our board to have open and frank discussions with staff about priorities for the coming year.
The workshop opened with Horizon 2027: the vision for BART customer experience. With rider satisfaction setting a new all-time low and ridership still declining, BART must address the rider experience. It’s long overdue. The target is 2027, as that is when BART expects to have achieved meaningful capacity expansion through railcar replacement, computer-based train control implementation and completion of many of the Measure RR infrastructure upgrades and replacements.
BART is working on quality of life improvements needed to make riders feel safer and more comfortable on their journeys. The improvements include addressing homelessness, drug use and crime, along with increasing resources for system cleanliness and police presence. Combatting fare evasion has moved way up on the priority list this year, while escalator replacements and canopy construction over street level escalator entrances are underway with 41 escalators in San Francisco.
New initiatives for this year include BART’s participation in the Metropolitan Transit Commission’s means-based fare discounts, a police cadet program, community ambassadors and shifting the way riders access BART away from automobiles. Parking initiatives include expanding the carpool program, automation of fee collection and enforcement ticketing, as well as parking fee increases. Staff will be presenting demand-based, variable pricing parking policy to the board for consideration.
New technology is on the horizon at BART. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will offer riders end-to-end trip support. The vision includes multi-modal and real-time information portal available to riders on different digital channels, offering payment platforms, trip planners, maps, real-time schedules and a perks program for riders who shift their travel to times of less demand.
BART will continue its rebuilding projects this year, including the beginning of the three-year seismic retrofit of the Transbay Tube, realignment of the tracks in the Caldecott Tunnel, traction power system replacements, and rehabilitations and station modernization programs. The rebuilding projects mean that BART will shift its opening hour from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. and other schedule changes.
Transit-oriented development projects will continue at stations throughout the system, with a goal of adding 20,000 housing units to the Bay Area by 2040. Parking battles will ensue.
These are just some of the more interesting BART topics coming in 2019. It’s going to be a year packed full of changes, improvements, setbacks, major accomplishments and controversy. I look forward to giving you a more in-depth look at the latest BART issues each month, from my seat on the train.
Contact Debora Allen at Debora@FixOurBART.com.