September BART Ridership Soars: How Do You Deal with Packed Trains and Parking Lots?

As more people pack in for public transit, how do you handle personal space and BART station parking lot issues?

Only two weeks in, September was has proved to be a landmark month for the Bay Area's most recognized brand of public transportation.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District pushed past the 400,000-plus weekday ridership milestone for three days in September. On Monday, more than 415,000 people rode BART, according to a report released by the district Thursday. The release said nine of BART’s top 20 ridership days have been recorded in 2012.

“Record ridership is great for the Bay Area.  It helps improve the environment and mobility throughout the region and the increased revenue will help us re-invest in our system,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican.  “At 40 years old, BART is carrying more people than ever.  We have 410 more trains on order and they can’t get here fast enough.  In the meantime, we’ve added four extra trains in each direction on our busy Millbrae to Richmond line each weeknight.”

In the recent past, a major event such as the Bay Bridge Closure or the Giants World Series parade spiked BART usage, bringing ridership up to around 400,000 in one day. Roughly 400,000 riders on a single weekday is becoming the new norm, according to the release.

How to Deal with Packed Trains

An increase in BART riders brings complications. Here is a list of tips from BART on how to maximize on personal space while riding the train:

  •  Move past the center platform. Cars at either end of the train are generally less crowded.
  • If possible, travel outside the busiest commute hours (7:30 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m.).
  •  After entering the train car, move away from the door and move down the aisle to create more room.
  •  Remove backpacks or big bags and hold them or place them between your legs.
  •  When standing near the doors, step out to the platform for a moment to free space for those trying to exit the train.
  •   And, simply, be considerate of your fellow passengers.

What About BART Parking?

Bart officials have tips on how to make the best of your ride once on the train, but what about parking at the BART station? More riders could also mean more drivers, who leave their cars at a BART station parking lot before boarding the train. Help out your fellow riders and share your tips on how to navigate the BART parking lots. Patch would especially like to hear about experiences with El Cerrito, North Berkeley and Ashby BART station parking lots.

A Bit of Trivia: BART's Top Ten Weekday Ridership Days








Giants' World Series Victory Parade; Warriors vs. Memphis




Emergency Bay Bridge Closure




Emergency Bay Bridge Closure




Emergency Bay Bridge Closure; Warriors vs. Houston




Raiders vs. San Diego




Raiders vs. Denver; Giants vs. Arizona




Giants vs. LA Dodgers




Cal vs. USC




A's vs. LA Angels; Giants vs. Arizona




No special events


Ken McCroskey September 14, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Bike to BART!
Ari Soglin (Editor) September 14, 2012 at 05:40 AM
I usually walk to North Berkeley BART, but sometimes I need to drive. What I wish is that some unused reserved slots could be made available earlier than 10 a.m. if enough are unused. For instance, some mornings, there are dozens of unused reserved slots but if I show up at 9:30 a.m., I can't use any of them. I suspect there are bigger frustrations with BART parking, but that's mine. What's yours?
hwells September 14, 2012 at 06:51 AM
I am frustrated about cyclists ignoring "no bike hours". It is getting out of hand and we need BART police to start citing these people. Today I was riding from the Powell street station (left about 6:05 pm). An announcement was made about no bikes (until 6:30). There was already 1 bike in our car. We added a second at Powell. We added a third at Embarcaderro. Three bikes in the same car, the driver announced no bikes, and all three ignored the train driver. People were having to climb over bikes and tripping over them. It is not a safe situation.
Laila Kearney (Editor) September 14, 2012 at 07:28 AM
I'm about to take a week off from work. I need to leave my car at a BART station (probably Ashby) in order to get to the airport. Does anyone have any favorite, or safest, stations for long-term parking?
Susan D.Keeffe September 14, 2012 at 08:28 AM
Take Bayporter - it will cost less than a week's parking and no worries.
Karen Hellyer September 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM
My normal commute has turned into a standing-room only nightmare. This is a disincentive to take BART what changed?? -Car shopping
Julie Gengo September 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
El Cerrito Parking needs to expand. Some of us can't bike to BART. I usually have to park about 4 blocks away which is okay if I arrive after 8 am.
Susan September 14, 2012 at 04:49 PM
yes, I park at Del Norte and the tower is filling up by 8:40 now, certain days are worse than others. My beef is being a 61 year old and there is no place to sit. 30 year olds sitting in the seats reserved for older people/handicapped and no one cares. Bikes don't help there either - often the bike people take the TWO of the seats reserved for handicapped/old people.
Yvonne Morrow September 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Take a bus to BART, there are many that are timed to meet the trains. In addition, WestCAT accepts BART transfers on your return and your transit fare is reduced to $1 for general public and $0.50 for senior/disabled.
Ari Soglin (Editor) September 14, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I've seen the same thing, @hwells, with bicyclists ignoring those rules. Most of them seem to comply though. BART recently completed a test during which the bike restrictions were eased on Fridays. That test is over, as is the survey that asked riders for feedback. Here's a link to more info about bikes on BART: http://www.bart.gov/guide/bikes/index.aspx. Note the section at the bottom of the page on the 2012 bike plan, which says, "The plan's goal is to double the percentage of passengers who access BART by bicycle from approximately 4% to 8% by 2022."
Susan September 14, 2012 at 05:51 PM
El Cerrito Plaza Bart parking is a joke. I go to Del Norte. I don't know HOW people find a place to park there - the plaza will tow you if not ticket you. Very prohibitive. It's fine to say walk to bart, ok, yes, tell that to someone driving their kids to school, etc.
ECCommuter September 14, 2012 at 06:47 PM
For both Plaza and DelNorte, you can reserve a spot the night before and it's held until 10 am. Costs $3 instead of $1 though.
Ari Soglin (Editor) September 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Great tip! Never knew about this option. The fee varies by station. Did some digging (thank you, Google), and here's where to reserve a spot: https://www.select-a-spot.com/bart/reservations/facilities/?type=daily
Kyle September 15, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I agree. Biking to BART is definitely the best option. And there's a good amount of secure bike parking there (Plaza BART)..
Kyle September 15, 2012 at 04:43 AM
There are a minority of people of all modes that ruin it for many: a few cyclists who flaunt/ignore the rules; the pedestrians (non-cyclists?) who slouch across 2 seats and don't move; those who sit in the 4-seat grouping and put their feet up on the opposing seats; the person that sleeps across 4 seats (I've seen that multiple times). Many who ignore the no-food or drink rules (look at all of the liquid stained seats and floors). Those who stand in the handgrab/bike area near the door, forcing cyclists to awkwardly hold their bikes in the middle of the floor/crowd. Those with headphones signing their music out loud, sometimes full of curses and (extremely) sexist language. It's civility that needs to be enforced.
Annie R. September 16, 2012 at 06:11 PM
@Kyle, If you are experiencing problems on a BART train, call 510-464-7000 which will connect you to BART Police dispatch. You'll need to provide a description of the activity, physical description of the subject(s), the line and direction you are traveling, and the BART car number. This number is located each end of the car, above the sliding doors leading to the adjacent car. It's important that you contact Dispatch while the activity is occurring, not after you leave the train. An officer will be dispatched to assess the situation and speak with the subject(s). I have the phone number programmed into my cellphone.
John Stashik September 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Been there, tried that. Fight aboard train. Train waits at station with doors closed until cops respond. Then actors dragged off. Major delay. I called it in. Should have kept quiet and gotten to destination on time instead.


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