Next generation escalators arrive at downtown San Francisco stations.

08.31.21

Next generation escalators arrive at downtown San Francisco stations.

Powell station escalator opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring BART board members and dignitaries

BART Board members Bevan Dufty and Lateefah Simon cut the ribbon to the new escalator now operational at Powell Station.

Riders can now enjoy the benefit of the largest investment BART has made in escalators in decades.  The first of the new escalators that is part of a massive overhaul opened for service on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 with a ribbon cutting attended by BART and City officials. 

The $96.5 million Market Street Escalator Project is funded by voter-approved Measure RR and will bring 41 new escalators to BART’s four downtown San Francisco stations.  The project is happening in conjunction with the Market Street Canopy Project to ensure the escalators are well protected and riders are provided with revitalized entrances to BART’s busiest stations.

“This is a great day for our riders,” said BART Director Bevan Dufty.  “Our repair teams have done incredible work to keep our aging escalators in the best operating condition possible, but those units have worn down through heavy use.  Our riders have been loud and clear in telling us that replacing escalators needs to be a priority for BART and now we’re delivering on that demand.”

The new escalators incorporate the latest technology with multiple improvements:

•    Safety enhancements that comply with the latest code requirements.  
•    New LED skirt lighting.
•    Materials used in fabrication are lighter in weight yet equally or more robust than heritage escalators. 
•    Environmentally friendly – The escalators are constructed of sustainable materials and utilize an automatic lubrication system that applies lubrication only when and where it is needed.
•    Energy efficient operation – Once phase two of the project is complete the escalators will have “sleep mode” operation and variable frequency regenerative drive functions to allow for smooth starts and stops and to allow the escalators to slow down and save electricity when no passengers are using them.
•    Improved reliability and shorter down-time – advanced controller equipment and real-time remote monitoring of escalators allows for BART to know the moment an escalator is not available for public use as well as the cause of the shutdown.

Many of the escalators being replaced are among the oldest in the system.  The Market Street Escalator Project will replace 22 units that extend from the street to the concourse level and 18 that connect concourses with platforms.  Additionally, a street-level escalator at Civic Center Station will be installed at the entrance closest to the Orpheum Theater where right now there are only stairs.

The parallel canopy project is bringing as many as 22 new entrances to downtown San Francisco stations that include new entrance gates, screens with real-time transit information, and multiple security cameras.

The latest edition of our podcast series “Hidden Tracks Stories from BART” features Mark Dana who is the manager of the Market Street Escalators Renovation Project. The new escalators are built especially for the challenges they'll face at BART and are a key part of the plan to revitalize the entrances to some of BART's busiest stations.

Powell station escalator opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring BART board members and dignitaries

BART Board member Lateefah Simon stands next to infographic detailing benefits of new escalators coming to Market Street stations at the press conference on August 31, 2021 at Powell Station.