BART and the Federal Transportation Administration also called Thursday's announcement of $300 million in approved grants during the "Race for Space" Twitter Town Hall to improve BART a "coincidence." The agency has long claimed the government delayed their request for funding, stalling for more than a year until Thursday's "breaking news" announcement from BART General Manager Grace Crunican.
🚨🚨🚨But first, breaking news!🚨🚨🚨— SFBART (@SFBART) June 20, 2019
Here is our General Manager Grace Crunican with a quick video message with the news from Washington DC. We just recorded this minutes ago. This Town Hall was going to focus on asking the FTA to push this project into engineering. pic.twitter.com/YvDZq4w5nO
Prompted by BART's Tweeted comic image of sardines in a BART train car, questions from riders poured in by the minute on how the agency would address overcrowding and long wait times at stations.
One rider asked, "Does BART have any efforts to work with large employers to spread out the rush hour with more flexible start times?"
The response from BART to "encourage reverse commuting away from San Francisco" and that they were talking "to large employers to get them to move away from Downtown San Francisco" did not sit well with Twitter users or San Francisco Mayor London Breed who we caught up with for reaction.
"I think that to say we are closing our doors is not necessarily the right thing to do or the solution. The right thing to do is invest in our transportation system and our infrastructure and make the transportation system more efficient," said Breed, who was at an event in the city's SOMA neighborhood to kick off a mixed-use development to enrich the city.
Many Twitter users wanted to know the timeline of how the grant money would be spent. BART shared this infographic along with the explanation.
"The first major improvement will come in fiscal 2026, when the peak number of trains running through the Tube will increase from 23 to 28. The reason it will take few years is because we need to upgrade our train control and our core power substations."
One of the major questions that you can on Twitter was wait times. Another user Tweeted "...what is the timeline to get 12 minutes waits".
Here's the nuts and bolts of the project that the General Manager told you about and what it's going to take to keep pace with the Bay Area's growth. pic.twitter.com/dVxP5kuM7r— SFBART (@SFBART) June 20, 2019
Many others, thought 12 minutes was too long already.
"We've already stipulated that in the next 3 to 4 years we want to get to this 12 minute goal."
Our local elected officials played a key role in making this happen. In May, they wrote to @SecElaineChao to push the project forward.— SFBART (@SFBART) June 20, 2019
RELATED: BART turns to Twitter in hopes of funding project aimed at reducing overcrowding
For those who couldn't participate on Twitter, there were plenty of other questions from riders.
Luke Radabaugh wanted to know if express trains were in the plan, as it would quicken his commute significantly.
"What would be the easiest way to help those that are going on a direct line out from one point to another without getting caught up with all of those excessive stops along the way?" he asked at the Powell Street station.
We asked BART board member Bevan Dufty to answer if this was possible.
"No, I don't think so. You might consider it if there were a second Transbay crossing."
While the agency celebrates their new government money, Dufty encourages the public to understand this will be a step-by-step process.
"The future is like a table and we were missing a leg of that table. So even though immediately you might not see things, the reality is that we have a blueprint over the next seven years to really make this world class and we needed that fourth leg of the table and that happened today."