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.
This plan was released on May 27, 2020 and was last updated on August 3, 2021.
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 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 20% of what it was before the pandemic and weekends are at 35% 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 August 2021, mask compliance is an average of 96% across all hours of service.
50% off in September
BART is offering 50% off all fares on Clipper for the entire month of September. The discount will apply to all fares including already discounted Clipper cards such as Youth, Senior, RTC, Clipper Start, and the Gator Pass.
The reduced fare will be automatically deducted when using Clipper at the fare gates. Our online Trip Planner and Fare Calculator have been updated to show discounted fares during the month of September.
The discount is only available when using Clipper. It is not available on magstripe paper tickets. This is a great time to get a Clipper card if you don't have one already.
There is a one-time $3 fee to purchase a new Clipper card from a BART station vending machine. Clipper is currently offering free Clipper cards when you purchase a new card in Apple Wallet or Google Pay. The card is also free if you order it online and set up automatic reloading.
Proof of eligibility is required for discount Clipper cards and therefore they are not available at station vending machines. Get your discounted card now to be able to take an additional 50% off the following discounts during September:
- Youth 5-18 years old get 50% off BART with a youth Clipper card.
- Seniors 65 and over get 62.5% off BART with a Senior Clipper card.
- Qualifying low-income adult riders get 20% off BART with Clipper START.
- Riders with qualifying disabilities get 62.5% off BART with the RTC Clipper card.
Youth, senior, and START cards are all free and BART does not charge for RTC cards when obtained at our customer service window at the Lake Merritt Station.
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. 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.
Plenty of Parking and Improved Transit Connections and Bike Accommodations
Unlike before, there is now ample parking at BART stations and the lots do not fill. We've also 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 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. Many riders have given up their monthly parking permit because of remote work and we are transitioning 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. 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.
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.
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
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.