BART to discuss later Friday night schedule

June 23, 2011 11:46:34 AM PDT
BART riders have mixed feelings about a proposal to change weekend service hours. The BART board is trying to decide whether to have later late-night services, but that comes with a human cost the following day.

BART's board of directors were in session on Thursday to discuss a plan that would add trains to their service on Friday evenings.

"The trains turn into a pumpkin, basically, on Friday night," said BART spokesperson Linton Johnson. "People would rather see that the trains are running."

But not all passengers are crazy at the idea of late-night rail service.

"I don't think it's necessary," said one BART passenger. "It screws up Saturdays, and if people go to work on Saturdays, then they'd have to wait another hour. That (doesn't) work right." This is because of a six-month pilot project to extend train service an hour, from midnight on Friday to 1 a.m. on Saturday, and begin train service an hour later Saturday morning instead of its current start time of 6 a.m.

BART administrators say later Friday hours must be coupled with a late start time on Saturday.

"We have to have a bridge time, the time when our crews can get out there and keep the tracks -- and operation -- when the trains start running again," said Johnson. "That way there aren't any problems, the service is on time and is safe."

Through an internal survey, BART found that early Saturday riders as a group make up more low-income and minority riders than BART passengers on average. Also, 33 percent of the early riders surveyed say they have no other way than BART to reach their work.

The same survey found 81 percent of Friday riders favored a later service.

"On the weekends, it probably would be nice," said a BART passenger, "to stay out in the city and take BART home and not have to worry about drinking and driving or anything like that."

The survey was provided to passengers in several languages.

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