BART to expand capacity on trains

May 9, 2008 8:31:21 AM PDT
There may be fewer seats on your train the next time you ride BART. Believe it or not, the transit agency is removing chairs because ridership is up.

If you ride BART, you may have already noticed the difference. BART is slowly removing seats from the trains to accommodate more passengers. The catch is more people will have to stand.

Usually each car contains about 68 seats per car. The reconfiguration removes six seats and leaves 62. BART says the extra space will allow each car to hold about a dozen extra passengers. BART said more and more people are taking the trains and the current system has little room to add more trains. So far, 20 cars have had seats removed and the plan eventually will involve 80 cars.

"It's a balancing act. We have to accommodate more riders and get them on and off quicker. Generally, the people who are standing and riding are not going as far as people who are sitting," said Linton Johnson, BART spokesman.

"This time of day, people are going to work and it's great if they are sitting down. They've also made the trains smaller this time of day, which I also think is ridiculous. So I've actually found it harder - most people are finding it harder than easier to commute on BART," said Richard Cohen, BART rider.

That passenger also says he pays about $9 for a roundtrip fair from Lafayette to San Francisco. He doesn't believe the cost is reflected in the service. BART says it will add hanging straps to make it more comfortable for passengers to hold on. Right now, you have to hold onto the metal grab bar to steady yourself.


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