BART reported strong ridership growth and tremendous progress on escalator repair during its quarterly service performance update during today’s Board of Directors meeting.
BART ridership increased 6.7% during its fourth quarter compared to the same quarter last year continuing a trend of 20 months of consecutive rider growth. The fourth quarter averaged 375,000 riders while the average weekday ridership for the entire fiscal year was also at a high of 366,565. The previous record was 357,775 average riders from fiscal year 2008. This fiscal year had 61 days where ridership exceeded 380,000. The previous year only had two days with such high marks - one being the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory parade when BART had its highest ever ridership at 522,200.
“These record numbers can be attributed to high gas prices, an improving Bay Area economy, and a full year of the new West Dublin/Pleasanton station being open,” said Board President John McPartland. “Our transbay service has been especially strong since the Bay Bridge toll increase.”
Stations seeing a strong uptick in usage compared to last year include: San Bruno (up 15%), Colma (up 14%), Ashby (up 12%), SFO (up 11%), and 19th street in Oakland (up 10%).
For the first time since the opening of the San Francisco International Airport BART station, ridership reached and exceeded 4 million annual passengers in the fiscal year.
BART Reports Significant Escalator Repair Progress
BART also reported significant progress in addressing escalator repairs. As of the latest report Wednesday night, 172 of BART’s 179 escalators were in service, representing 96% availability. BART redoubled its effort to repair out of service escalators during a rash of outages in June by reassigning more electricians to the repair team, authorizing additional overtime and calling in outside contractors. To help address the chronic shortage of qualified escalator technicians BART expanded its recruiting efforts and is exploring the possibility of an apprenticeship program.
“BART is taking a look at enclosures of busy street level escalator entrances,” said Board Vice President Tom Radulovich. “Enclosures would protect the escalators from the weather and would also keep people out of the station entrances during non-service hours.”