BART Slashes Service Again As Ridership Plummets

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 05: Commuters walk off of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train July 5, 2005 in San Francisco, California. With a strike deadline looming at the end of the July 5, BART management and union representatives are trying to hammer out a c
Photo credit (Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BART is once again slashing its service as ridership has dropped precipitously by 93% as much of the Bay Area shelters in place. 

Starting Wednesday, trains will run only every 30 minutes all day. Three-line service and single tracking will also begin earlier in the evening, which means fewer direct trains. The agency says this will allow it to save money and protect employees without shutting down entirely.

“Train operators having some sniffles - we want them to feel comfortable to say ‘I can stay at home today’,” says BART Board Director Janice Li. “And I think being able to modify the schedule means that we can be certain that we can sustain the level of service.”

The last Warm-Springs Daly City train will leave Warm Springs at 5:16 p.m. and depart from Daly City at 6:43 p.m. 

The last Richmond-Millbrae train will leave Richmond at 5:41 p.m. and Millbrae at 7:18 p.m. Riders using this line should also be warned that there will be a hole in the schedule, with no train from Millbrae at 6:18 p.m. Riders can take the SFO shuttle from Millbrae at 6 p.m. and connect to the Antioch line at SFO at 6:26, then to the Richmond train at the MacArthur station at 7:10 p.m.

“These changes allow us to increase essential rebuilding projects while also ensuring we can provide reliable and predictable service,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers. “With so many unknowns about the length of the shelter in place orders and the timing of recovery, we must take steps to protect the operating budget while also protecting our ability to run service every 30 minutes.”

BART officials say the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a budget shortfall of over $450 million dollars in fiscal year 2021, which won’t be covered by the $1.3 billion in federal stimulus money that has to be shared across the Bay Area. 

BART estimates the shift will save its operating budget about $3-7 million per month. Many workers will be moved to maintenance and engineering projects that are funding by a different part of the budget. BART has previously made reductions to weekend and evening service. 

Meanwhile the SFMTA is making drastic cuts to its Muni service as well. This week the system will go from running 68 lines to just 17. Muni officials say service will continue along the busiest lines, with priority given to lines that service medical facilities so that healthcare providers can still get to work. 

On Tuesday, the 2-Clement, 3-Jackson, 5-Fulton, 7-Haight, 10-Townsend, 21-Hayes and 31-Balboa lines were temporarily discontinued. 

Starting Wednesday, only the following 17 lines will remain in service: N-Judah bus, L-Taraval bus, T-Third bus, 1-California, 8-Bayshore, 9-San Bruno, 14 and 14R-Mission, 19-Polk, 22-Fillmore, 24-Divisadero, 25-Treasure Island, 29-Sunset, 38 and 38R-Geary, 44-O’Shaughnessy and 49-Van Ness/Mission.