Welcome Back to BART—what you need to know
Welcome Back to BART—what you need to know
More people are returning to BART to avoid traffic, support transit, and to get to work, school, appointments, and fun destinations across the region. BART's Welcome Back Plan outlines what has changed and what you can expect when you hop on board.
Near-Regular Service Has Returned
BART returned to near-regular service on August 2, 2021 to support the region and provide more frequent train service and a midnight closure Monday through Saturday. View the full details of this major schedule change which also includes a dramatic increase in direct trips to SFO on weekdays. Sunday service will continue to run at 30-minute frequencies and a 9pm closure to accommodate BART’s critical cable replacement project and other rebuilding work. BART has committed to improving Sunday service including retuning to a midnight closure and adding more trains to the schedule in February 2022.
BART and all public transit are no longer subject to state physical distancing requirements and capacity restrictions. However trains are not as crowded as they once were. Weekday ridership is at 28% of what it was before the pandemic and weekends are at 49% and we have significantly increased train frequency.
During the pandemic we extended service into Santa Clara County by opening two new stations, Berryessa/North San Jose and Milpitas. Berryessa is now the end of the Orange and Green lines and signs have been updated as "Berryessa" bound.
Face Coverings Required Indoors and on Trains
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has an active order requiring face coverings for all individuals in indoor areas of public transit facilities and on trains through at least January 18, 2022. This is even for those fully vaccinated. According to current CDC guidance, persons in outdoor areas of transit stations are encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering.
All stations systemwide have extra masks available at the station agent booths for those who need one to ride. All officers and ambassadors carry extra masks to hand out. Signs are displayed and frequent audio announcements are being made.
BART survey takers are monitoring mask compliance, measuring the number of people who are properly wearing face coverings that cover both mouth and nose at all times. As of November 2021, mask compliance is an average of 96% across all hours of service.
Upgraded Air Filters & Industry Ventilation Best Practices
The air in BART cars is replaced every 70 seconds and is filtered prior to being dispersed through the window frame. We've upgraded all the air filters in our HVAC systems with MERV-14 filters which can trap even smaller particles than the MERV-8 filters that were used previously. The EPA indicates a filter rating of MERV-13 or higher will filter out virus particles like coronavirus.
Even if your car is stuffy or hot because the HVAC system is experiencing a problem, the air is still being replaced every 70 seconds and is getting filtered. If you are on a hot car, tweet us the car number or email it to customer services and we will reset the unit or send it to the shops.
BART is also piloting a UV-light rod filter for even greater protection in the HVAC system.
Air flow in elevators: Elevators have significant air exchange by design compared to many indoor spaces and are required by code to have openings for ventilation. While riders are in an elevator for a very short duration- one minute or two, it is important to point out that fresh air is introduced every time the elevator door opens, and BART elevators include exhaust fans in the ceiling to increase ventilation.
Improved Traditional Cleaning
CDC guidelines tell us the risk of surface transmission of COVID-19 is low and daily fogging is not necessary as COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through the air. Instead, our cleaning resources are better spent using traditional methods to clean cars, stations, and bathrooms. BART continues to use hospital-grade disinfectant while cleaning and we are now hiring dozens of more cleaners to support traditional cleaning methods with a special focus on ensuring clean seats and clean restrooms.
Increased Safety Staff
BART now has a historically high number of uniformed safety staff on platforms and on-board trains, including sworn officers, non-sworn personnel, fare inspectors, and our new ambassadors. We are also adding crisis intervention specialists to responding teams to help those experiencing homelessness or struggling with mental health or addiction. Increased attention will also be paid to keeping station entryways clear and safe for our riders. BART is also working to increase safety for girls and gender expansive youth through our Not One More Girl campaign to end sexual harassment and gender-based violence on transit.
Some safety tips while at BART:
- Know your options to reach BART police quickly: Text BART Police at 510-200-0992, call police if there is an emergency at 510-464-7000, or use our free BART Watch app.
- Know your car number so you can help us respond to your car quickly. The car number is displayed inside and outside of all cars.
- Know where the intercom is located on your car to reach the train operator. On legacy cars they are located by the doors at both ends of the car (the doors that let you move from one car to another). On Fleet of the Future cars they located along the side doors.
- Protect your cellphone. While our increased safety staff on board trains and platforms has paid off with a huge drop in crime and less theft on the system, we want you to be aware of your surroundings and know that cellphone thefts occur quickly when the doors of the train are about to open and close.
Mobile Payment Now Available
BART has now transitioned to Clipper-only at stations systemwide and iPhone and Android users can now use their phone or Apple Watch at the fare gates to pay for BART. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has launched new pay by phone features that allow you to add Clipper to your mobile wallet and pay for BART fares with Google Pay and Apple Pay. All riders can immediately load funds to their Clipper card when using Clipper on your phone, this is a big improvement compared to loading funds online which can take several days to be picked up on the card.
Plenty of Parking and Improved Transit Connections and Bike Accommodations
BART charges for parking on weekdays until 3pm. Parking on weekdays after 3pm and weekends is free (except Milpitas and Berryessa/North San Jose stations, whose parking lots are operated by VTA). Parking costs $3.00/day at many stations, but the price varies. Visit the station pages to find out the cost of parking at your station, what type of parking is available, and to view parking maps.
Unlike before, there is now ample parking at BART stations and the lots do not fill.
Parking payment options:
- We've made it easier to pay for parking using the official BART app. Unlike our aged equipment at stations, the app accepts credit, debit, Venmo, or PayPal. The app is a great contactless and fast option for those who use BART from time to time or a few days a week.
- We still offer EZ Rider if you want to tag your Clipper card at our parking validation machines, however you have to set this up in advance and it requires a wallet loaded with funds in advance. If you are using a digital Clipper card in your digital wallet, the parking validation machines work with the new digital Clipper version. Just be sure you have transfered your Clipper card that is registered to your EZ Rider account to your mobile wallet.
- Besides the app or EZ Rider, the only other option is paying for parking by cash at the machines inside the station.
Many riders have given up their monthly parking permit because of remote work and we have transitioned the monthly, daily, or multi-day reserve parking process to our app.
If you connect to BART using other transit, we've coordinated our schedule changes with other agencies to improve transfer times. Caltrain and BART released a helpful timetable to help riders who transfer between systems at Millbrae Station. It shows the wait times of each connecting train, highlighting trips with the most convenient transfer times.
The Bay Area's 27 transit systems are coordinating to improve the rider experience and to make it easy to take transit. We've launched the website www.AllAboardBayArea.com as a one-stop shop to find the latest information from each agency.
We've also improved the bike spaces on board our new trains. We are swapping out the bike racks on the Fleet of the Future trains because they didn't work for all sizes of tires and we are replacing them with lean bars and straps similar to our old cars.
BART accelerated infrastructure rebuilding projects during the time we closed early. Some of these projects can be disruptive to passengers and the increased level of work is shortening the time it will take to complete some of the projects. The focus has been on projects that directly improve service reliability. This includes replacing electrical cables that power trains and running rail in critical sections of trackway across the system. This accelerated work ensures that when riders return to the system, it will be in better shape than when they last used it. We still work primarily after 8pm on weekdays and on weekends and we always encourage riders to check our Trip Planner to see if your ride will be impacted by rebuilding work.
Supporting Art and Culture
The sounds of Reggae, Jazz, and Folk music will bring joy to BART riders in the month of October as the latest “welcome back” gesture to encourage the return to transit and reinforce the role public transit plays in fueling the Bay Area’s economy and culture.
We partnered with Taylor Street Production to launch the “Sound Tracks” Music Program featuring diverse lineup of local musicians on Thursdays in October from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at four stations next month.
During the pandemic we added free short story dispensers at Fruitvale, Richmond, Pleasant Hill, and Balboa Park stations to give you something to read on the train or while waiting.
BART plans to bring life back to our stations and support our BARTable partners in the arts with a series of live performances in and around BART stations.
Visit bart.gov/partners for information on who we partner with and how we do it, then keep an eye out for exciting events coming to a BART station near you.
Personal Hand Straps
With ridership increasing and more riders needing to stand, BART is selling (at cost) personal hand straps for riders who want to use their own. A limited supply will be handed out as a surprise giveaway inside some stations to welcome riders back. The hand straps are available for purchase for $5 plus tax on BART's online store www.railgoods.com, by phone order by calling 510-464-7136, and in person at the Customer Service window at Lake Merritt Station (Monday-Friday 7:30 am–4:45pm). See how they work.
This plan was released on May 27, 2020 and was last updated on October 9, 2021.