General Manager relaunches rider listening tour
General Manager relaunches rider listening tour
BART General Manager Bob Powers is relaunching his listening tour with a focus on visiting the current top 10 ridership BART stations to hear from riders who have been with us throughout the pandemic and those who are new or are now just returning.
“Meeting riders at our stations helps me learn if we’re meeting their needs,” said Powers. “It’s also invaluable for me to see first-hand how we’re doing with safety staffing, cleanliness, public address announcements and even if people are complying with the face covering requirement.”
In Station Visits*
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
- 8am-9am Fruitvale (Interprete en Español disponible)
- 4pm-5pm Embarcadero
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
- 8am-9am Balboa Park
- 4pm-5pm Downtown Berkeley
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
- 7:30am-8:30am 12th Street Oakland
- 4pm-5pm Montgomery
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
- 8am-9am 16th Street Mission
- 4pm-5pm Civic Center
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
- 8am-9am 24th Street Mission (This event has been postponed to October 13).
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
- 4pm-5pm Powell
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
- 8am-9am 24th Street Mission
*Subject to change. The schedule will be kept up-to-date here
The General Manager's original listening tour launched October 9, 2019 and ran until March 11, 2020. It was paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Details from that tour, including a summary of what we heard and follow up measures are outlined below.
BART's new General Manager Robert Powers has launched a listening tour to hear directly from riders to get feedback about BART service and policies.
Powers will visit stations on Wednesdays and will be on the platform talking to riders while they wait for trains. Posters will be displayed on Station Agent booths in advance to notify riders when the General Manager will be at the station. A pop-up banner will be displayed at the faregates with his picture while the General Manager is at the station so riders know to look for him on the platform.
Powers will also visit early morning, late night and weekend riders.
In Station Visits*
October 2, 2019
- 8am-9am Lake Merritt Station (Cantonese interpreter available)
- 3:00pm-4:30pm Montgomery Station
October 9, 2019
- 8am-9am Ashby
- 3:00pm-4:30pm Powell Station
October 16, 2019
- 8am-9am Rockridge
- 3:00pm-4:30pm 12th Street
October 23, 2019
- 8am-9am Bay Fair
- 3:00pm-4:30pm Civic Center
October 30, 2019
- 8am-9am Concord
- 3:00pm-4:30pm 19th Street
November 6, 2019
- 8:30am-9:30am Dublin/Pleasanton
- 3:30pm-4:30pm Hayward
November 20, 2019
- 3:00pm-4:15pm MacArthur
Sunday November 24, 2019
- 2pm-3:30pm 24th St Mission
November 27, 2019
- 9:30am-11am San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- 11:30am-12:30pm Millbrae
December 4, 2019
- 8am-9am El Cerrito del Norte
- 3pm-4:30pm Embarcadero
December 11, 2019
- 7:30am-8:30am Fruitvale
- 4pm-5pm West Oakland
December 18, 2019
- 8am-9am Walnut Creek
- 3:30pm-4:30pm 16th Street Mission
January 8, 2020
- 8am-9am Glen Park
- 3:30pm 4:30pm El Cerrito Plaza
January 15, 2020
- 8am-9am South Hayward
- 2pm-3pm Ed Roberts Campus 3075 Adeline St, Berkeley
- 3:30pm-4:30pm Downtown Berkeley
January 22, 2020
- 4:45am-6:30am Antioch
- 6:45am-7:45am Pittsburg Center
- 8am-8:30am On the BART to Antioch Transfer Platform located in between the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station and Pittsburg Center stations
January 29, 2020
- 8am-9am Castro Valley
- 3:00pm-4:00pm Balboa Park
February 5, 2020
- 8am-9am Fremont
Saturday February 8, 2020
- 8pm-9pm Powell
February 12, 2020
- 7:30am-8:30am Orinda
February 19, 2020
- 8:30am-9:30am San Bruno
- 3:30pm-4:30pm North Berkeley
February 26, 2020
- 3:30pm-4:30pm Oakland International Airport
March 11, 2020
- 8-9 am Warm Springs
March 18, 2020
8-9 am South San Francisco (Cancelled due to shelter in place order)
The Listening Tour is on hold during the shelter in place order.
*Subject to change. The schedule will be kept up-to-date here
BART General Manager Bob Powers launched his Listening Tour in October 2019 with a pledge to visit all stations to hear directly from riders about BART service and policies. Prior to the COVID-19 Shelter in Place orders, Powers had visited 37 out of 48 stations. Powers describing his visits as “soul-uplifting” and the highlight of his week. Powers speaks to riders while they wait for a train and is taking the feedback and is turning it into a Riders-First Action Plan.
He has spoken with more than 725 riders as of mid-March 2020 and several themes have surfaced along with specific requests outlined in the Action Plan.
Riders appreciate the system: Riders very much appreciate the system with many chiming in they are happy with the service. “BART carries an enormous amount of people and does it well.” Riders want BART to be successful. They are thankful to have an alternative to driving and sitting in traffic.
New train cars are a hit: Riders love the new cars calling them “fantastic,” “roomy,” and “quieter” and want to see more of them as soon as possible. Many specifically mention how the 3rd door improves the experience and how much quieter the ride is. The new cars have good air conditioning while the old cars get miserably hot.
Crowding is uncomfortable: Crowding was frequently mentioned and often the first comment. Riders said they can feel “crammed like cattle” and some back-ride to get a seat or experience trains they can’t board because it’s too crowded.
Cleanliness is important to riders: Riders want clean stations and trains. “The old cars are dirty,” while the new trains are “clean and don’t smell.” When asked about stations, “some are clean, others need help” and “the stairwells smell like urine.” Many riders said they’ve noticed “cleanliness in the stations has improved,” and specifically mentioned Civic Center being “so much cleaner.”
Riders want more police presence, especially on trains: While most riders said they feel safe during peak, crowded hours, many reported nights and weekends can be “sketchy” and would like to see more police presence to curb “anti-social behavior.” Some specifically asked for unarmed ambassadors while others said they want more police.
Homelessness is a concern: Riders consistently brought up the high number of unhoused individuals who seek shelter on the trains and inside the stations. Many commented they understand BART has limited means to address the homelessness crisis, but they don’t want homelessness in the trains and stations and feel uncomfortable in a confined space with those in need of crisis intervention.
Fare Evasion Frustrates Riders: Many riders want everyone to pay their fair share. They also comment that those committing crime on BART are likely not paying to enter BART. Some commented they think we should focus our attention on other problems and said “station hardening” causes access challenges.
Top Requests to GM Powers
Add staff on trains to enhance security
A dedicated police train team of 12 was launched in January 2020 and an ambassador program of 10 uniformed staff was launched February 10, 2020. BART is hiring more police officers to increase officer presence in the system with a focus on board trains.
BART is working to add more cars to lengthen trains. By March 2020 all transbay trains during the peak commute (except for the extra commuter trains that serve the Antioch line) will be scheduled to be 10 car trains. Long term efforts are underway to increase capacity by 45% with the Transbay Core Capacity Project. This project will allow us to carry 9-10K more riders per hour through the tube.
BART has added 65 new cleaning staff, new cleaning standards, a station ownership approach for accountability, and mid-line train cleaners who will intercept a train to clean urgent messes.
Address fare evasion
The General Manager is developing a funding strategy for new fare gates with a swing style design that will make it harder for people to jump over or push through. Staff is working to issue a vendor “Request for Proposal” in early 2021. Staff continues “station hardening” efforts such as bringing elevators into the paid area, raising railings, and alarming swing gates. Fare inspectors have also been deployed.
Fix the air conditioning
New Fleet of the Future cars have modern air conditioning, but legacy cars are prone to HVAC failures. Staff have been asked to add a “report a hot car” feature to the website and app making it easy for riders to send us their car number. A tech will intercept the train and make HVAC adjustments or write the car up for maintenance.
This feature will be available in FY 2021. Riders can currently tweet @SFBART their car number or use the intercom to tell their train operator and action is taken.
Improve parking payment process
BART will roll out a parking payment option through the BART app in 2020 that allows riders to pay for parking on the spot with a credit or debit card, PayPal or Venmo. Riders will no longer have to wait in line, bring cash, or memorize their stall number when using this feature. The option will first roll out to Antioch, West Oakland, Hayward, South San Francisco, and El Cerrito del Norte in March 2020 and will expand to other stations later.
More real time monitors on the concourse
Some stations already have these. We recently installed new displays to 5 stations (16th, 24th, Civic Center, 19th and 12th). A dozen more stations are scheduled in the next few months. By early summer, 75% of the stations will have real time displays.
Offer a way to report a maintenance problem via the app
Under development for launch in FY 2021. Currently riders can report problems at bart.gov/comments and customer services directs the requests to maintenance. Riders can also tweet @SFBART the information and it will be escalated.
An app widget for Apple Watch
Offer a rewards program
Following the BART Perks pilot programs, BART is exploring future rewards program options.
Offer weekend discounts
Offer a reverse commute discount
BART awarded a contract in January 2020 to bring WiFi to stations and onboard trains within 5 years.
Open underground restrooms
BART will pilot remodeled, open underground restrooms with attendants at 19th Street and Powell Street stations in 2021. Meanwhile, BART and the city of San Francisco currently offer attended, clean Pit Stop bathrooms on the street level of Powell, Civic, 16th and 24th.
Install handholds on BART to Antioch eBART trains
Staff is evaluating adding as many straps as practical above the open floor space. Riders are encouraged to move down the aisles away from the open space by the door.
Install more handholds on Fleet of the Future trains
We are currently in the process to adding more straps to the new cars to match the old cars.
Enable ticket vending machines to add different increments or be able to calculate the cost for you
Add more system maps in the station
BART plans to significantly increase the number of maps in the stations when a new map is needed for the opening of the Milpitas and Berryessa stations. BART also plans to add maps next to the Ticket Vending Machines.
Provide larger bike parking spaces to accommodate cargo bikes
Parking for larger bikes is something the bike program is working to provide. All bike stations now (or will shortly, Civic Center and Embarcadero Bike Stations are currently undergoing renovations) include areas identified and outfitted for larger bikes. A new generation of eLockers (the first of which are being planned for North Berkeley) will be configured to accommodate larger bikes.
Improve timed transfers
The February 10, 2020, schedule change includes adjustments to the schedule to improve the reliability of timed transfers.
Put the car number on the ceiling so it’s easy to know what car you are on for reporting problems
Staff is considering the addition of car number signage to several locations in the car interior of both old and new cars. Currently the number is listed above the end doors and at the intercom button. It is also listed on the outside of the car.
Add more art at stations
BART’s Art in Transit program is currently working on projects at 19th Street, Powell, El Cerrito del Norte, and Coliseum.
SFO to Millbrae trips on Sundays require a transfer
BART’s Feb. 10, 2020, schedule change removed the need to transfer on Sundays.
Partner with homeless outreach advocates
BART currently partners and helps fund homeless outreach teams in Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties. Alameda County will launch in Feb 2020 and BART is finalizing an agreement with San Mateo County. BART is developing a Homelessness Action Plan to expand this important work.
Fare integration among transit systems
BART is Project Managing a fare integration study with MTC, with BART’s General Manager serving on the Fare Integration Task Force.
Run 3 car BART to Antioch eBART trains during the PM commute (as opposed to 2 car trains)
We are working to find funding to purchase more BART to Antioch eBART trains so we can run 3 car trains during the peak hours. Currently we run 3 two-car trains in the evening so we can have a spare train to use if a regular BART train is late connecting to the transfer platform. We use the spare train to pick those passengers up. If we ran only 3 car trains, we wouldn’t have the spare train to connect to late arriving passengers while staying on-time with the rest of the BART to Antioch service.
Add call boxes on platforms
Call boxes currently are being tested at the Coliseum.
Station hardening efforts impact people using wheelchairs and strollers
Swing gates are to be left unlocked when agents are absent if someone needs access around the fare gates. If a gate is locked and agents are not present, riders can use the courtesy phone and gates can be opened remotely. Elevator attendants have also been added to all downtown SF stations to improve the elevator experience.
Train operators should make frequent courtesy reminders “move to the middle,” “give up your seats for those whose need it,” and “remove backpacks”
The Chief Transportation Officer has issued a memo to all Train Operators about making courtesy announcements, especially when trains are crowded.
Install platform stickers encouraging riders to line up and let riders off board first
Some stations have these already and they don’t necessarily change behavior. The new platform decals indicating where the middle door of new cars will line up on the platform include these arrows. Staff are in the process of installing these systemwide.
Put up signs reminding riders to take off their backpacks
Staff hung courtesy posters onboard trains.
Prioritize train arrival information on platform digital monitors
BART is piloting new platform monitors at Lake Merritt station that offer side by side messaging so train times will always be displayed.
Promote a culture that sends a strong message that gender-based harassment will not be tolerated.
In partnership with the Alliance for Girls BART launched the Not One More Girl Campaign, a gender-based violence prevention campaign.
Station Specific Requests
More parking at Antioch
BART is adding 850 new parking spaces at the station to open in 2021.
More fare gates at Antioch
BART added two additional fare gates at Antioch Station.
Improve wayfinding signs at Millbrae
Staff made changes to current signs to spell out “San Jose” and “San Francisco” and to add the text “Caltrain.”
BART directional signs added:
Dublin shopping carts in the garage
Rockridge needs a recycle bin
A bin was added
Better lighting at the Balboa Park Kiss and Ride
Add more bike parking in the paid area at Ashby
Staff will look into the feasibility of additional paid area racks at Ashby. Ashby currently has a self-park Bike Station with capacity for 128 bikes and 40 BikeLink lockers both with available capacity on a typical, busy weekday.
Twitter Town Hall
Powers held a Twitter townhall as part of his listening tour on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 from Noon-1pm. He answered questions from the public via Twitter. We made a Twitter Moment to archive the Q&A. Check it out at: https://twitter.com/i/moments/1182438129166274562