BART turns 50


BART turns 50

State created BART on June 4, 1957

BART is celebrating a major milestone. Fifty years ago-on June 4, 1957-the California State Legislature and the governor took a preemptive strike against the massive influx of cars and people moving into the Bay Area after World War II and officially created the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District or BART.

"Today is truly a very special birthday for BART!" said BART Board President Lynette Sweet. "The Bay Area owes those in the state legislature 50 years ago and then Governor Goodwin Knight a debt of gratitude for having the wisdom and foresight to create what would later be named as one of The Top Ten Public Works Projects of the 20th Century and the #1 Transit System in America. On our 50th birthday, we are hopeful the current legislature restores the deep cuts in transit funding that the current governor has proposed."

Originally, the BART District consisted of five counties; Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo. However, San Mateo and Marin counties withdrew from the District for financial reasons in 1962.

This year BART will also celebrate its 35th year of train service. The first trains with fare-paying passengers began operating on September 11, 1972. Since then, BART has carried over one billion passengers.

"BART has always been there to carry the Bay Area through good times and bad," Sweet said. "We were there to keep the economy moving when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake knocked out the Bay Bridge, and most recently when the MacArthur Maze connector collapsed. We're there each and every day for hundreds of thousand of people who want to avoid gridlock, high gas and parking prices on their way to work, to sporting events, parades and other large social gatherings. And we're there for those concerned about the future of our environment. After all, BART prevents millions of pounds of pollutants from spewing into the air each day. BART is truly an integral part of the fabric of Bay Area life. We look forward to serving the Bay Area for at least the next 50 years."


  • June 4, 1957 ? Legislature formed BART District
  • Sept. 11, 1972 ? Revenue service began


  • There would be 15.2 million additional lbs/day spewing into air


  • Caldecott commute would go from 24 mins. to 3hrs. 15 mins.
  • Bay Bridge commute would go from 40 mins. to 2.2 hrs.