BART plans service changes on New Year's Eve

December 28, 2009 6:50:47 PM PST
BART is making a major change this New Year's Eve, hoping to ease the crush of people packing trains after midnight.

A New Year's Eve fireworks show on the waterfront has become a San Francisco tradition. But afterwards, thousands of revelers cram into BART stations trying to get home.

Surveillance video from last New Year shows people dangerously pushing toward the moving trains at Embarcadero Station, a chaotic scene BART officials hope to avoid this time around.

"Between about 12:30 in the morning and 1:30 in the morning we typically carry over 15,000 people between these two stations," BART Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier said.

To spread out the masses, BART is changing service at two stations this New Year's:

East Bay passengers on the Richmond and Pittsburg/Baypoint lines will not be allowed to board at Embarcadero Station after midnight when the fireworks end. They will have to walk two blocks west on Market Street to the Montgomery Street station.

Dublin and Pleasanton bound lines will stop at Embarcadero Station. All San Francisco and Peninsula trains will continue to make their normal stops.

That is not the only change passengers will notice.

On the first New Year's since former BART police officer Johannes Mesherle shot and killed unarmed passenger Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station, hundreds of uniformed police officers will be out in force.

"The difference this year, we're taking an extremely proactive and progressive approach to how we're going to police this system New Year's Eve," BART Police Commander Dan Hartwig said.

That means officers from around the Bay Area will patrol BART parking lots and dozens more will be ready to assist the 130 BART officers who will be riding trains and monitoring stations that night.

The department that was accused of being unprepared in the wake of Grant's shooting last New Year's Eve this time wants the public to know it is ready for anything.

"We are prepared to deal with whatever scenario we will face that night," Hartwig said.

BART officials are hoping for a peaceful evening and to help make it less chaotic they will have signs posted around the stations announcing the changes and will be making announcements all night long. Additionally, dozens of BART staffers will be out in force wearing neon vests and using bull horns to get party goers to the right station.


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