New Year's Eve service goes according to plan
Increased police presence and skip stop service made significant difference in moving customers
BART's 2009 New Year's Eve service turned out to be one of the smoothest on record. Between 8 pm and when train service ended at 3 am, BART safely carried 87,800 customers – most of whom used the trains to enjoy the annual fireworks show along San Francisco's Embarcadero. Total ridership for the entire day was 302,800 passengers.
For the first time, BART used a "skip-stop" schedule to more evenly disperse riders heading to and from downtown San Francisco. In years past, riders would flood the Embarcadero Station following the conclusion of the fireworks show. However, this year, trains along different lines skipped either the Embarcadero or Montgomery stations, which caused the fireworks crowd to split evenly between the two stations located just blocks apart from each other. This resulted in faster boarding times and more room on the platforms for passengers.
BART also assigned nearly 50% more police officers to patrol the system than in years past. Additionally, deputies from the San Francisco County Sheriff's Department patrolled along side the approximately 150 BART officers. Oakland Police, San Francisco Police, Alameda County and Contra Costa County Sheriff departments also augmented the police presence. About 100 BART employees wearing bright yellow or orange BART sweatshirts, volunteered to be the extra eyes and ears for the police and to help Station Agents direct customers.
"We couldn't be more pleased at how this New Year's Eve turned out," BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. Dugger was one of the many employee volunteers who spent the entire night assisting Station Agents with the crowds of customers. "The months of tireless planning certainly paid off. I want to thank all our employees and the other law enforcement agencies who worked countless hours to make this one of the most successful New Year's Eves on record. I also want to thank our customers for continuing to put their faith in us to get them around the Bay Area quickly and safely."
"We made no arrests during the evening largely due to a substantial police presence," BART Police Commander Daniel Hartwig said. "We want to thank all of our fellow law enforcement agencies for their help. They, along with the outstanding support from the BART employee volunteers, Station Agents, Train Operators, System Service workers, Line Managers and other key operations personnel, created in an extremely successful evening. Despite a few incidents here and there, the increase police and employee presence made New Year's Eve 2009 was one of the smoothest I have ever seen in my nearly three decades at BART."