Two key reasons for surge may surprise some
BART to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ridership has just soared past a major milestone – and two of the key reasons for the huge surge may surprise some.
For the first time since the SFO Station opened five years ago this month, ridership topped a monthly average of 10,000 riders per weekday mark. That happened last month in May. It’s a 65% jump in passengers since the station’s first full month of operation.
The number of customers using the SFO Station averaged 10,700 per weekday in May, which is 65% higher than during July 2003 - the first full month after it and three other stations on the SFO/Millbrae extension opened to paying passengers on June 22, 2003.
“There are many factors behind the impressive surge in ridership but two of the most interesting ones are our unique and innovative marketing efforts as well as the weak U.S. dollar,” BART Board President Gail Murray said. “A large percentage of our SFO riders are from Europe where the Euro is strong against the American dollar, which means Europeans can get a whole lot more for their Euros when visiting the United States.”
Several years ago, the BART Marketing Department seized upon this opportunity and BART is now the only American transit agency reaching out to Europeans by offering them BART tickets through Expedia.com when they book their travel online.
“Riding BART is already a bargain for us Americans, but for Europeans, our world-class train-to-plane connection proves to be an even greater value for their money,” Murray said.
OTHER REASONS BEHIND RIDERSHIP RECORDS
There are a few other notable factors behind the ridership increase, which include:
- 33% increase in service Mon-Sat after 7 pm and all the time on Sundays
- Low cost, long term/airport BART parking on the Peninsula at $6/day
- High gas prices coupled with heavy congestion, which makes BART’s low fares and 95% passenger on-time service look even more attractive
- Increased passenger travel on SFO’s low-cost carriers: Jet Blue, Southwest and Virgin America
COST OF BART vs. DRIVING:
Between SFO & Downtown San Francisco
EXTENSION RIDERSHIP ALSO SETS A RIDERSHIP RECORD
Ridership along the five-station SFO/Millbrae extension is also at record levels. The five stations are Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno, SFO and Millbrae. Colma opened on February 24, 1996. Comparing this past May with July 2003 – the first full month of service after the final four stations opened in June 2003 - ridership is up 51%. In May, a total of 37,200 people each weekday used the new line.