Timeline of Bay Area Rapid Transit

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This is a timeline of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a mass rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

Big picture

Period Key developments
Before 1945 The idea of the Transbay Tube has been floated, and there has been some discussion of improving Bay Area transit options, but no concrete steps.
1945–1957 A series of statutes, commissions/working groups, and reports paves the way for the concept of and initial funding for a publicly funded, grade-separated, mass rapid transit system.
1957–1964 The initial years of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BARTD) involve a successful public relations campaign to secure large-scale funding and a full-fledged system plan. BARTD also successfully weathers the first lawsuit against it.
1964–1972 This is the period between the beginning of BART construction and the opening of the first BART line for passenger use. The period involves the construction of the Transbay Tube, Berkeley Hills Tunnel, Oakland Wye, Market Street Subway, and the rest of the initial BART system.
1972–1978 The initial batch of BART stations opens up, and BART increases its service hours, expands service to weekends, and increases the length of trains over this period. The last station to open up in this batch is Embarcadero, one of only two infill stations in the BART system, and also the most heavily used BART station. The period is marked by considerable criticism of BART for its poor safety procedures and below-expectations ridership, the latter stemming from below-expectations service frequency, low reliability, and safety concerns. Research shows that BART primarily displaces bus traffic and has little effect on automobile traffic, and its main value-add is for transbay riders.
1985–2003 BART works to relieve pressure at its southwest terminus of Daly City, and extend service further south. After a Daly City Turnback Extension Project (1985 onward), and construction of Colma station (opened 1995), BART expands service to South San Francisco, San Bruno, the San Francisco International Airport, and Millbrae (where it connects with Caltrain).
1991–1997 Over this period, BART constructs the Dublin/Pleasanton and Pittsburg extensions, opening the stations of Castro Valley and (East) Dublin/Pleasanton on the former and the stations of North Concord/Martinez and Pittsburg/Bay Point on the latter.
2009–present BART extends service south of Fremont, with the ultimate goal of going all the way to San Jose. Multiple delays in financing, construction, and technical aspects of operations delay the opening of Warm Springs/South Fremont to March 2017.
2011–present BART begins work on the East Contra County Extension Project, which adds disel eBART service extending east from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART terminus. The new stations are expected to open for revenue service in 2018.

Visual data

Overall ridership

The image below shows BART average weekday, Saturday, and Sunday ridership by month from January 2001 to May 2017. Traffic is highest on weekdays, lower on Saturdays, and even lower on Sundays. The referenced source will update the graph every month; the version shown below does not auto-update.[1]

BART ridership.png

Ridership to Embarcadero, the busiest station

The image below shows BART ridership to and from Embarcadero: average weekday, Saturday, and Sunday ridership values by month from January 2001 to May 2017. Traffic is highest on weekdays, lower on Saturdays, and even lower on Sundays. Traffic to Embarcadero is a little higher than traffic from Embarcadero for any given month and day type, but differences between type of day dominate entry/exit differences. The referenced source will update the graph every month; the version shown below does not auto-update.[2]

BART ridership to Embarcadero.png

Wikipedia pageviews

The image below shows pageviews of the Wikipedia page Bay Area Rapid Transit from December 2007 to June 2017 on desktop, amd from July 2015 to June 2017 on mobile web, mobile app, desktop spider, and mobile web spider. The image will not auto-update with data for new months; you can visit the source page to get up-to-date data.[3]

BART Wikipedia views.png

Google Trends

The image below shows Google Trends data from 2004 (the start of availability of the data) to July 2017, when the screenshot was taken.[4]

BART Google trends.png

The image below shows Google Trends data for just one week, with times shown in Pacific Time (the local timezone for BART). Relative interest appears to peak in the evenings, around 5 PM.[5]

BART Google trends one week.png

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details Associated parts of BART (stations or parts of track)
1872 Emperor Norton envisages a bridge and an underwater tube connecting San Francisco with the East Bay.[6] The bridge declarations are made in the Pacific Appeal on January 6 and March 23,[7][8] and the underwater tube declaration is made in the Pacific Appeal on June 15.[9] The bridge would be realized as the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, and the underwater tube would be realized as the Transbay Tube, a part of BART. Transbay Tube
1936 November 12 Highway transportation The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens for traffic, three years after construction began on July 8, 1933.[10] Transbay Tube
1945 Organization The San Francisco Bay Region Council is created by California's State Reconstruction and Re-Employment Commission.[11]:42 Although funded by the state in its first year, the council incorporates as a private nonprofit organization, and changes its name to the Bay Area Council. Initial supporters of the now private BAC include Bank of America, American Trust Company, Standard Oil of California, Pacific Gas & Electric, U.S. Steel, and Bechtel Corporation. In subsequent years, BAC would be influential in pushing for transportation changes in the San Francisco Bay Area, including enhancements to the bridges as well as the creation of BART.
1946 Acquisition The Key System Trasit Company, a private operator of electric trollies in the Bay Area, is acquired by National City Lines, a company representing automobile and bus interests, that wishes to eliminate electric trollies from the streets.[11]:45 The removal of a key alternative provider of mass transit would pave the way for mass transit solutions such as BART.
1947 Report A joint review board by the United States Army and Navy concludes that an additional link is needed between San Francisco and Oakland to reduce congestion on the Bay Bridge. The proposed link is an underwater tube to carry high-speed electric trains.[12][13] Transbay Tube
1949 Legislation The California state legislature passes the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Rapid Transit District Act.[14] According to the Act, a specially created district would be needed to operate effectively in the context of multiple Bay Area governmental units. The Act provides that the district shall include the city and county of San Francisco and the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Hayward, Oakland, Piedmont, and San Leandro, and may include all or any part of Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties and any city situated therein. In total, over seventy county, city and county, and city governments are potentially involved.[14]
1950 March Report The Oakland City Planning Commission submits a preliminary report to the mayors and managers of the cities in the East Bay, with an analysis of and suggested improvements to the Key System local bus service. The report emphasizes the need for a publicly owned rapid transit system on grade-separated rights of way.[14]
1951 April Report The Senate Interim Committee on the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Rapid Transit Problems issues a report emphasizing the need for a rapid transit system of the kind envisioned by the Rapid Transit Act of 1949, and favors a publicly owned system over a privately owned one.[14]
1951 Legislation The California State Legislature passes a new statute, adding a Section 39 to the Rapid Transit Act of 1949.[14] It creates a 26-member San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission, comprised of representatives from each of the nine counties which touch the Bay. The Commission's charge is to study the Bay Area's long range transportation needs in the context of environmental problems and then recommend the best solution.[14][12][13]:25 Both the joint Army/Navy report[13]:25 and the efforts of BAC are credited for the legislature's decision.[11]:44
1953 January Report A report prepared by the Rapid Transit Commission with the help of the consulting firm Deleuw, Cather & Co. is submitted to the California state legislature. The report is based on plans, data, and information from all the nine counties potentially covered by the Rapid Transit Act. The report argues that highways alone will not solve the transportation problems of the Bay Area, and pushes for mass rapid transit that has a low elapsed time from start to destination, and that can integrate well with other modes of transport.[14] The Senate Interim Committee endorses this report, and draws particular attention to four major interurban operators serving the Bay Area: Pacific Greyhound Lines, Key System Transit Lines, Southern Pacific Company, and Peerless Stages System.[14]
1953 November 4 Legislation The California state legislature passes another statute, appropriating $400,000 to enable the Rapid Transit Commission to make preliminary studies for the development of a coordinated master plan. The statute provides that the amount appropriated by the state is to be spent only if the nine counties appropriate an additional $350,000. This condition is fulfilled on November 4.[14]
1953 November 12 Report Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall and Macdonald (PBHM) are commissioned for the study for which $750,000 was appropriated on November 4.[14][11]:52
1955 Report The Senate Interim Committee on the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Rapid Transit Problems issues a report saying that the general transit situation in the Bay Area has deterioriated. Based on counts of the number of people who commute to work, it concludes that the Bay Area is a single economic unit and is in urgent need of a mass transit system.[14]
1955 Legislation The California state legislature extends the lifetime of the Rapid Transit Commission (that was created in 1951 and scheduled to end in 1955) to 1957, and allowing any unallocated portion of the previously appropriated $750,000 to be used for publicity of the Bay Area's transit problems.[14]
1956 January Report Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall and Macdonald (PBHM) present a report, Regional Rapid Transit (RRT) to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission, that was commissioned in November 1953. This report is the first planning document for BART and would be the starting point for further reports.[14][11]:52
1957 Highway transportation A number of citizens' groups protest freeway construction in San Francisco starting around this time, beginning with the Embarcadero Freeway. This leads to increased interest in mass rapid transit as an alternative.[11]:48
1957 March (legislation), June 4 (creation of the District) Legislation Based on the findings of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BARTD) is formed by the California state legislature, comprising the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo. Santa Clara county is not included.[12][13]:25 The draft bill had been the subject of public hearings in November 1956, been revised and introduced in January 1957, had another public hearing on February 20, and finally passes when the legislature reconvenes in March.[14]
1957 November 14 Meeting The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District occurs.[14]
1957 December 16 Report The final report of the Rapid Transit Commission is submitted to the California state legislature.[14]
1958 Team Billy Raymond Stokes (stylized B. R. Stokes), a former Oakland Tribune newsman, joins the Bay Area Rapid Transit District as its first employee, with the title of Director of information.[15][14] Stokes starts a carefully orchestrated publicity campaign, with the goal of convincing voters to vote favorably for upcoming BART bond measures.[14]
1958 Team John Pierce, a former executive of the Western Oil and Gas Association (WOGA) becomes the first General Manager of BART.[15][16]
1959 May 14 Work contracts BART retains the services of the joint engineering venture composed of Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall and Macdonald, Tudor Engineering, and the Bechtel Corporation to develop a regional plan.[13]:54
1959 Financing plan A bill is passed in the California state legislature providing for financing of what would later become the Transbay Tube through surplus toll revenues from the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.[14]
1961 System plan A final plan is sent to the boards of supervisors of the five counties. The system would have three endpoints in the East Bay: Concord, Richmond, and Fremont; one in the Northwest at Novato, and one in the South Bay at Palo Alto.[12]
1962 April County coordination San Mateo County opts out of BART, citing high costs, existing service provided by Southern Pacific commuter trains, and concerns over shoppers going to San Francisco, hurting local businesses. The withdrawal of San Mateo County leads to Daly City (just at the border between the counties) as the southwest terminus.[12]
1962 May County coordination Following the withdrawal of San Mateo County, Marin County also withdraws, citing engineering objections and the potential for not getting enough votes. This leads to cancellation of the plans for a northwest terminus and the Geary Subway section of the system.[12]
1962 May Report The Composite Report (CR) is produced by the consortium of Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall and Macdonald, Tudor Engineering hired by BARTD in 1959.[11]:54 Among the key expectations/predictions of the report are: 1) BART would divert 48,000 workday autos from the streets and highways by 1975, and 2) 258,500 daily passengers would be riding BART in 1975; 157,400 (61%) diverted from automobiles and 39% diverted from existing transit systems.[17]
1962 November 6 County coordination The remaining three counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco) agree to the modified BART plan with a $792 million bond measure, with terminuses at Richmond, Concord, Fremont, and Daly City.[18][12] The measure, known as Proposition A on the three-county ballot, is able to pass due to two changes engineered by Alan K. Browne of the Bank of America: (a) getting the state legislature to reduce the needed BART vote from 66.67% (the default) to 60%, and (b) allowing for the requirement of crossing the vote threshold to be applied to all votes together, rather than county-by-county. Without both these changes, the measure would not have passed.[11]:59 Supporters of the measure organize a campaign committee called Citizens for Rapid Transit, whose top members are San Francisco bankers.[11]:59 In contrast, there is no organized opposition. Opponents include the Civil League of Improvement and Associations that opposes the taxes needed, the Central Council of Civic Clubs and the San Francisco Labor Council that have more specific objections, and some automobile and older railroad companies, though these companies do not spend resources on opposing the bond measure.
1962 November 29 Work contracts BART signs a new contract with the successors to the firms it had contracted with to come up with a design for the system. The new contract is for overall system planning through research and development, design, and management of construction. The contract is with the engineering joint venture firm composed of Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade, and Douglas (the successor to Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall, and MacDonald), Tudor and Bechtel. In short, the joint venture to which the work is contracted is called PBTB.[19][20]
1962/1963 Lawsuit Robert L. Osborne, an Oakland city councilman and East Bay manufacturer, files a lawsuit against BARTD arguing that fixed rail is obsolete, that BART stations would be too far apart to encourage riders, that better and more efficient transit systems were rejected by BARTD, that the ultimate cost would exceed the $792 million approved, that BARTD's contract with PBTB is open-ended and illegal and based on nepotism, and that an illegal, close working relationship exists between the Citizens for Rapid Transit Committee and BART public officials.[14] The court first eliminates some of the allegations, then after hearing the plaintiff's case at trial the court rules against the plaintiff.[14] Many of these allegations would later prove true.[11]:63[14]
1963 Team B. R. Stokes, who was BART's first employee serving as BART's Director of Information, becomes the General Manager of BART.[15]
1964 June 19 Construction BART construction is officially inaugurated by President Lyndon Johnson, presiding over the ground-breaking ceremony for a 4.4-mile test track between Concord and Walnut Creek.[20][14][18] Concord, Walnut Creek
1965 October/November Construction Construction of the Berkeley Hills Tunnel begins.[20] Berkeley Hills Tunnel
1966 January 24 Construction Construction of the Oakland subway part of BART, including the Oakland Wye (the part of BART in Oakland that is underground), begins.[18][20] Oakland Wye; stations of 19th Street, 12th Street, Lake Merritt
1966 August PBTB issues its specification for the work required to design and provide the automatic train control (ATC) system.[21]:123
1966 October Construction, Referendum Since 1965, the government of the city of Berkeley had been pressing BART to construct the Berkeley portion of the BART underground (instead of elevated), and said it is willing to pay the additional construction costs. The city government is concerned that an elevated track would reduce connectivity between the black population of South Berkeley and the rest of the city, and reduce prices in the area. Due to disputes between Berkeley city engineers and BART engineers about the magnitude of additional costs, competitive bidding is opened up both for underground and elevated construction, and the city of Berkeley decides, after seeing the difference between the bids, to pay extra for underground construction. A referendum is held in October 1966, where the residents of Berkeley overwhelmingly vote in favor of underground construction and the corresponding tax increase (with 83% in favor, compared to the 75% that city officials were hoping for).[14] BART's website claims that this led to a 2.5-year delay in construction, $18 million in additional costs, and a 17-month delay in starting Ashby station construction.[20] Ashby, Berkeley, North Berkeley (stations in Berkeley)
1966 November Construction Construction on the Transbay Tube begins, as the first of 57 giant steel and concrete sections of the 3.8-mile tube is lowered to the bottom of the Bay by a small navy of construction barges and boats.[20] Transbay Tube
1967 Report In response to criticism by the California Society of Professional Engineers (CSPE), the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Board of Ethical Review reviews the case. The Opinions are published as Case No. 66-1 in Vol. 2, 1967. The Opinion concludes that it is not appropriate to issue criticism of the fee arrangements in the manner that CSPE did.[13]:97
1967 February Construction The boring of the Berkeley Hills Tunnel is completed.[20] Berkeley Hills Tunnel
1967 May Work contracts The contract for the operation of BART's automatic train control (ATC) system is won by Westinghouse for $26.1 million, as it is the lowest bidder, $3 million below the second lowest bidder. The other bidders for the contract are General Railway Signal Company, Philco-Ford Company, General Electric Company, and Westinghouse Air Brake Company.[20][19]
1967 July 25 Construction Construction for BART tracks along the Market Street Subway in San Francisco commences. The construction is carried out using cut-and-cover.[22][18] Market Street Subway; stations include downtown San Francisco stations of Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell Street, and Civic Center
1968 Work contracts IBM wins a $5 million contract to design BART's fare ticket collection machines.[23]
1969 April 3 Construction The final section of the Transbay Tube is laid out (it has not yet been fitted for use by trains).[24] Transbay Tube
1969 April Legislation After three years of debate, the California state legislature approves BARTD's request for $150 million in funds, by levying a 0.5% sales tax in the BART counties.[20][15]
1969 July Train cars The contract for making BART's electric train cars is won by Rohr Industries, Inc. of Chula Vista, California. The initial contract is for 250 train cars, at a cost of $80 million.[20][23]
1969 August Construction The Transbay Tube construction is completed.[18] Transbay Tube
1969 September 1 Controversy At the Contra Costa County meeting to nominate candidates for the BART Board, Roy Andersen, the candidate of the Diablo Chapter of the CSPE delivers a speech critical of the BART/PBTB relationship.[13]:101
1969 November 9 Preview A section of the Transbay Tube is opened for pedestrian traffic, prior to being fitted out for train use.[25] Transbay Tube
1970 August Train cars The first prototype BART train car is delivered by Rohr Industries, Inc.[23]
1970 Legislation The California state legislature creates the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).[26] The MTC works closely with the California Department of Transportation and is the public governmental agency responsible for planning, financing, and coordinating transportation for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area; BART falls under its purview.[27] The nine counties include the three BART counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco) and six others (Marin, Napa, San Mateo (that is touched by BART but is not a BART county), Santa Calara, Solano, and Sonoma).[28] The Commission would hold its first meeting in February 1971.[26][29]
1971 early year Train cars, system testing The ten test prototype train cars delivered so far are being operated round-the-clock around the Fremont line, to prove out the new design before full-scale production.[23]
1971 January 27 Construction Construction of the two-level Market Street Subway is completed, with a final tunnel bore holed through Montgomery Street Station.[20] Market Street Subway; stations include downtown San Francisco stations of Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell Street, and Civic Center
1971 September Report The Battelle Memorial Institute publishes a report on BART, pointing out that the automatic train control (ATC) system would suffer from a train detection problem.[21]:136
1971 October Fare collection IBM demonstrates the first group of prototype fare collection machines to the BARTD Board of Directors. The machines are manufactured at IBM's San Jose plant.[23]
1971 November 5 Train cars The first production car for revenue service is delivered.[18] Note that SFGate reports the date as June 27, 1965, but this seems incorrect based on the rest of the timeline.[22]
1971 December The BART District Board adopts the official inter-station fare schedule, ranging from a 30 cent minimum to a $1.25 maximum fare.[23]
1971 December System testing During system testing, BART has a collision between a moving train and a stationary train. Despite concerns from the board of directors, BART management dismisses the problem as not serious.[21]:135
1972 January The BART District Board approves 75% fare discounts for patrons above 65 years for patrons over 65 and patrons under 13, with discount tickets to be sold through local bank branches instead of at BART stations.[23]
1972 January System testing BART begins total acceptance testing of its entire system. Max Blankenzee, one of the three engineers who would be fired from BART in March, argues against starting total acceptance testing when the subsystems have not been fully tested.[21]:129
1972 February and March Controversy Three engineers working for BART, Max Blankenzee, Robert Bruder, and Holger Hjortsvang, had identified safety problems with the Automated Train Control (ATC).[21] They contact Daniel Helix, mayor of Concord and a member of the BART board of directors, who raises the matter with the board, and goes public with the issues on Febrary 7-9. On February 24 or 25, at a public meeting of BART, the issues are raised. The board votes ten to two in support of BART management.[19][21]:118 On March 3, BART, having determined the identities of the three whistleblowing engineers, gives them the option of resigning or being fired. After they refuse to resign, they are all fired.[19]
1972 September 11 Service start BART opens service. Initial service is between the stations of MacArthur and Fremont (completely in the East Bay). Iinitial service is on weekdays only, and comprises eight trains, each of which is two or three cars long.[22][18][23] MacArthur, 19th Street, 12th Street, Lake Merritt, Fruitvale, Coliseum, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Hayward, South Hayward, Union City, and Fremont
1972 September 27 Federal funding United States President Richard Nixon issues a statement that an additional $38.1 million of federal funds will be available to BART from the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now the Federal Transit Administration), based on provisions of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1970. The funds will help go toward making the remaining 47 miles of BART track operational. Through 1972, federal funds for BART have totaled $181 million, or 13% of the total cost.[30]
1972 Report BART conducts studies of the feasibility of the following extensions: Daly City to San Francisco International Airport, Coliseum to Oakland International Airport, Concord to the Pittsburg-Antioch area, and Bay Fair (on the Fremont line) to the Livermore-Pleasanton area.[23] Daly City, Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno, San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, North Concord/Martinez, Pittsburg/Bay Point, Castro Valley, West Dublin/Pleasanton, Dublin/Pleasanton (and other stations still being considered)
1972 (continuing till 1974) Controversy, Safety Concerned by the controversy surrounding the engineers who raised safety concerns with BART, California's legislative analyst A. Alan Post commissions Bill Wattenburg to review problems with BART. Wattenburg identifies a number of potential flaws with the method BART uses to track trains, and provides suggestions to improve the system, albeit in a combative fashion that generates a lot of publicity (including San Francisco Chronicle coverage) but is not well-received by BART.[31][32] Wattenburg continues highlighting the flaws and potential solutions till as late as 1974.[33]
1972 October 2 Accident A failure of the Automated Train Control (ATC) system at BART causes an accident at Fremont station called the Fremont flyer, where a train runs off the end of the elevated track and crashes to the ground at the parking lot. Four people are injured.[34][35]
1972 November Report At the request of the California Senate Public Utilities and Corporations Committee, California's legslative analyst A. Alan Post issues a report containing criticisms of BART's Automated Train Control (ATC) system as well as its contracting and operating procedures. Within three weeks, BART issues a 157-page response, agreeing to some of the suggestions (and outlining its intention to implement them) but viewing others as nitpicky, questionable, and misguided.[13]:233-235[36][34]
1972 December Controversy IEEE Spectrum publishes a letter from Hjortsvang (one of the BART engineers who had been fired for his criticism of BART's safety) (Forum, pp. 16–17). In the letter, he outlines criticisms of both BART and the Westinghouse-designed ATC system.[21]:122
1972 Commission The BART Impact Program, a policy-oriented study and evaluation of the impacts of BART, is started, with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the California Department of Transportation, and administed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) under contract. The program would run till 1978 and produce its final report in 1979.[37][29]
1973 January 29 New stations BART opens service from MacArthur to Richmond (in the East Bay), as well as all the stations along the line (except MacArthur which was already open).[18] Ashby, Berkeley, North Berkeley, El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito Del Norte, and Richmond.
1973 January 31 Report A report is produced by a special blue ribbon panel of experts, namely Drs. Bernard Oliver, Clarence Lovell, and William Brobeck, commissioned by the Senate Public Utilities and Corporations Committee, working closely with BART. The report includes 21 technical recommendations.[13]:233-235[21]:122 The views of the experts are summarized in "A prescription for BART" in IEEE Spectrum, pp. 40–44, April 1973.[21]:122
1973 May 21 New stations BART opens service from MacArthur to Concord (in the East Bay), as well as all stations on the line (excluding MacArthur that was already in service) completing the East Bay part of its initial plan.[18] Rockridge, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Concord.
1973 August Report A 42-page report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), titled Safety Methodology in Rapid Rail Transit System Development (NTSB-RSS-73-1), is published.[38] The report is in response to concerns raised around transit system safety, partly due to safety concerns at BART.[39]
1973 August 10 Preview The first test run of a train under automatic control from West Oakland to Montgomery is performed. The train runs at full speed, taking seven minutes and returning in another six minutes.[40] Transbay Tube, stations of West Oakland, Montgomery
1973 November 3, 5 New stations BART opens its service in San Francisco (not yet connected with the East Bay), from Montgomery to Daly City.[18] Montgomery, Powell Street Station, Civil Center/UN Plaza, 16th Street/Mission, 24th Street/Mission, Glen Park, Balboa Park, and Daly City.
1973 November Automatic train control Hewlett-Packard (HP) demonstrates to BART a model of a logical prediction system for better tracking of the position of trains in the BART system. Convinced by this, BART instructs Westinghouse to incorporate the measure in its control system. Hjortsvang, one of the engineers previously fired from BART, would later note that HP's design is based on the suggestion he had previously made to BART to improve the reliability of train tracking.[21]:125
1974 May 24 Team BART general manager B. R. Stokes steps down from his role, after legislators make his resignation a precondition for continued funding of BART.[41][15]
1974 August 27 Approval The California Public Utilities Commission gives BART permission to start transbay service for two lines: Fremont to Daly City and Concord to Daly City. The trains would operate under a computer-augmented block system (CABS-l) with one-station separation between trains.[21]:122
1974 September 16 New stations BART opens its station in West Oakland and begins trans-bay service between its East Bay and San Francisco stations.[18] Initially, only the Concord and Fremont trains go across the Bay to San Francisco; passengers on the Richmond line need to transfer at MacArthur or 12th Street. As of this time, headways for trains are 12 minutes.[37][21]:122 West Oakland, system-wide
1974 November 5 Team A nine-member elected Board of Directors replaces the previous appointed Board.[18] The leadership of BART changes considerably, as voters are dissatisfied with the previous board members.
1975 July 30 Train cars Rohr Industries, Inc. completes the delivery of the 450 train cars it was contracted to make for BART (the original contract for 250 cars for $80 million was entered into in July 1969, and an additional 200 cars were contracted later, for another $80 million). 64% of the $160 million base cost is funded through federal transit funds.[23]
1975 May 26 Legislation The California Senate amends the California Public Utilities Code by adding (or updating?) Section 29047. The new Section 29047 says that the Bay Area Rapid Transit District is subject to regulations of the California Public Utilities Commission, and must reimburse the California Public Utilities Commission for the cost of regulating it.[42][39]
1975 July 1 Fares BART adopts a 75% fare discount for people with disabilities, and increases the discount for seniors from 75% to 90%.[18]
1976 January 1 Service hours/frequency/capacity Permanent night service goes into effect. Hours of operations are extended to 6 AM to midnight (only weekdays).[18] This is after night service was introduced on a temporary basis in November 1975.[37] Previously, the hours of service were 6 AM to 8 PM.[37]
1976 May Report The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) produces a report on the use of automatic train control (ATC) in rail rapid transit. BART is one of the five rapid transit systems studied. The only other transit system that uses ATC extensively at the time is the PATCO Lindelwold line, which is also studied. The other transit systems included in the study are those of Chicago New York City, and Boston.[39]
1976 May 27 New stations BART opens its Embarcadero station, its first infill station. This would become BART's busiest station.[18] Embarcadero
1976 July 1 Transit connections SamTrans (the San Mateo Country Transit District) is incorporated. This provides bus service in San Mateo County, and in particular, provides bus feeder lines into the Daly City BART station. Daly City
1976 October Report A monograph titled The BART Experience -- What Have We Learned? by Melvin M. Webber, and supported jointly by the Institute of Transportation Studies and the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California, Berkeley, is published.[17] The report includes: design considerations, patronage, effect on highway traffic, effect on metropolitan development, and various aspects of the finances. Findings from the report would be echoed in later reports.[37]
The report argues that BART failed to meet its patronage projections by a huge margin, part of which is due to BART having lower capacity (shorter train cars, fewer hours of service, low service frequency) and poorer service reliability compared to expectations.
In terms of ridership, the report finds that BART primarily displaces transbay bus transit, compared to which BART is faster but more expensive (both in direct fare terms and in terms of subsidies). BART does not displace local, short-trip, transit.
BART's effect on reducing highway congestion is lower than expected, and the report attributes this to BART being slower and less convenient than automobiles, and not clearly cheaper. Only 35% of BART riders report that they would have used an automobile instead of BART, compared to the prediction of 61% in the 1962 Composite Report. Key reasons people use BART include not owning a vehicle and wanting to avoid the higher stress of a driving commute.
Initial reductions in highway traffic after the opening of BART routes (the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, the Transbay Tube, and BART lines that parallel freeways) did not last long, with rapid recovery to original levels.
1976 December 6 Service hours/frequency/capacity BART increases commute-hour length on all trains, going up to ten-car trains, with a seating capacity of 720.[18]
1977 November Service hours/frequency/capacity BART begins Saturday service (6 AM to midnight).[37]
1978 June 30 Economics BART's farebox recovery ratio is reported at 35%, with an average of $0.73 collected in fares and $2.02 spent per passenger. In total, revenue from fares is $28 million and operating cost is $78 million. The shortfall is met through a portion of sales tax and property tax in the three counties where BART is operational.[37]
1978 July Service hours/frequency/capacity BART begins Sunday service (9 AM to midnight), thus making it available all days of the week.[37]
1978 November 3 Report The report BART's first five years : transportation and travel impacts : interpretive summary of the final report is published. This is part of the BART Impact Program, sponsored by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.[37] This echoes many of the findings of the October 1976 Webber monograph, while also mentioning recent service capacity enhancements and more up-to-date financials.[17]
1978 Transit connections The Amtrak-operated San Joaquin train, that runs between Bakersfield (near Los Angeles) and Oakland, starts stopping at Richmond station, a station shared with (and a terminus for) BART. Previously, the route, that runs on old Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, passed through but did not stop at Richmond. The route started operating under Amtrak on March 5, 1974.[43] Richmond
1979 January 17 Accident The fifth and sixth cars of a seven-car westbound BART train (Train No. 117) catch fire at 6:06 p.m. while in the Transbay Tube. Forty passengers and two BART employees are evacuated from the burning train through emergency doors into a gallery walkway located betwen the two tracks, and then into a train on the tracks running the other direction. One fireman dies when the gallery suddenly fills with black toxic smoke. 24 firemen, 17 passengers, 3 emergency personnel, and 12 BART employees are treated for smoke inhalation. Total property damage is estimated at $2,450,000. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determines the probable cause of the accident to be the breaking of collector shoe assemblies on the train when it struck a line switchbox cover which had fallen from an earlier train. NTSB also finds the failure of BART to conform to the emergency plan, and to coordinate rescue efforts between the San Francisco and Oakland fire departments, to be contributing factors to the severity of the incident.[44] Transbay Tube
1979 June, September Report The BART Impact Program produces its final report. The report is submitted in June and published in September.[29]
1980 February 18 Transit connections The San Francisco Muni Metro begins operation, with the N line.[45]:250[46] The Muni Metro (and the N line in particular) shares the four downtown San Francisco stations of Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center, the four stations that are part of the Market Street Subway. The Market Street Subway and the four stations in it were originally built in a double-deck configuration, with the lower deck used for BART and the upper deck used for Muni Metro -- the start of Metro service puts the upper deck in operation. Market Street Subway; four stations Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, Civic Center
1985 Construction Construction for the Daly City BART Turnback Improvement Project commences.[47]:18 Daly City, also affecting later construction leading to Colma
1985 Report The Daly City Intermodal Study proposes a $14 million of access, circulation and parking improvements to the Daly City BART station, including the construction of a park-and-ride lot south of the Daly City BART with a connecting bus service.[47]:18 The improvements would be completed in 1989. Daly City
1986 July 30 Safety, Train cars BART completes a fire-hardening program on all its transit vehicles, and claims that with the completion of the program, it has the most fire-safe transit vehicles in the United States.[18]
1989 Construction The improvements proposed in the 1985 Daly City Intermodal Study, including improvements to access, circulation, and parking, pedestrian access, and new park-and-ride facilities, are completed.[47]:19
1989 October 17 Highway transportation shutdown The Loma Prieta earthquake causes severe damage to the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge,[48] causing it to close for a month (it reopens on November 17 or 18, 1989).[49] During the time of its closure, BART ridership soars as Bay Bridge commuters turn to BART, with ridership reaching a record high of 357,135 on November 16, just before the Bay Bridge reopens.[18] Transbay Tube, effect on transbay travel
1990 December 12 Report The Final Environmental Impact Statement/Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIS/FEIR) for the construction of Colma station, BART's first extension south of its current southwest terminus of Daly City, is published. The report is prepared by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration working along with BART and San Mateo County, and is pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Urban Mass Transportation Acts, and the California Environmental Quality Act. The report compares Colma stations to alternatives including no build, transportation systems management (TSM), a Colma BART station extension just south of Daly City, and the main Colma station proposal, dubbed the locally preferred alternative. The report comes out in favor of building Colma station. A draft version (DEIS/DEIR) was published in October 1988 to solicit comments, and a formal public hearing was held on December 8, 1988.[47] Colma
1991 October 25 Construction The first phase of a $2.6 billion extension program begins with simultaneous groundbreaking ceremonies for the Dublin/Pleasanton and West Pittsburg extensions.[18] Future stations: Castro Valley, West Dublin/Pleasanton, Dublin/Pleasanton, North Concord/Martinez, Pittsburg/Bay Point
1991 December 12 Transit connections Amtrak launches a new route, the Capitol Corridor, with initial name Capitols. The route runs from San Jose to Sacramento, respectively the former and current capital of California. The train stops at Richmond, where passengers can transfer between Amtrak and BART. The part of the route south of Richmond runs along Amtrak tracks that are roughly parallel to and 1–2 miles west of the BART route from Richmond to Fremont.[50] Richmond
1993 Fare collection BART announces a project with County Connection, a bus service in the Concord area, to introduce Translink, a single fare card that can be operated across the two systems.[51]
1994 August 31 Train cars The first of a new generation of transit cars arrives at the Hayward maintenance facility. The transit car is part of an 80-car order.[18]
1995 November 15 Fare collection BART and County Connection abandon Translink, their smart fare collection program, due to high costs.[51]
1995 December 16 New stations The North Concord/Martinez station opens up for revenue service. This is the first of two stations to open on the West Pittsburg part extension, and replaces Concord as the terminus for its line. North Concord/Martinez, indirect effect on Concord (which is now no longer the terminus)
1996 February 24 New stations The Colma station opens for revenue service, with a colocated SamTrans Transit Center. Not all trains coming to San Francisco go all the way to Colma; some of them still stop at Daly City. Balboa Park is the official southbound transfer station and Daly City is the official northbound transfer station for people who want to go to Colma from lines that do not extend all the way to Colma. Residents express concerns about high cost of financing the extension, limited usefulness to them, and displacing Caltrain.[52][18] Colma (also indirect effect on Daly City and Balboa Park)
1996 Data The first BART Customer Satisfaction Survey is conducted. The survey would be conducted every two years since that time, until at least 2016.[53]
1996 December 7 New stations BART opens the Pittsburg/Bay Point station for revenue service, four months ahead of schedule. This replaces North Concord/Martinez as the terminus for its line.[18] Pittsburg/Bay Point; indirect effect on North Concord/Martinez
1997 May 10 New stations The Dublin/Pleasanton line opens for revenue service. The two new stations that open are Castro Valley station and Dublin/Pleasanton (also known as East Dublin/Pleasanton); the latter is the terminus of the line.[18] A third station, West Dublin/Pleasanton, that is in between the other two, would open later. Castro Valley, Dublin/Pleasanton
1998 January 15 Fare collection A report by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimates full availability of Translink (a smart card that can work across Bay Area transit agencies) by 2001.[54]
1998 Data BART conducts a Station Profile Study, to understand the profile of riders at each of its stations.[55]
1998 Work contracts CBS Outdoor wins the exclusive right to manage advertisements on BART stations and trains.[56]
2001 January Data BART's website reports ridership numbers for every pair of entry and exit station from this time onward.[57]
2003 June 22 New stations, transit connections BART extends its service south of Colma, simultaneously opening stations in South San Francisco, San Bruno, San Francisco International Airport, and Millbrae.[18] The Millbrae station is an intermodal terminal connecting with Caltrain; Caltrain had moved its own Millbrae station to this location in Spring 2003. South San Francisco, San Bruno, San Francisco International Airport, Millbrae
2004 August 23 Recognition The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) identifies BART as the #1 transit system in the United States among systems with 30 million or more annual passenger trips.[18][58]
2004 November 2 Safety, referendum Bay Area voters approve Measure AA in a referendum. The measure allocates $980 million from property taxes for the BART Earthquake Safety Program, including seismic retrofitting of the Transbay Tube and elevated tracks to better withstand an earthquake.[18][59][60][61]
2005 September 12 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.25 and the excursion fare is now $4.40.[62]
2005 October 15 Highway transportation shutdown Caltrans shuts down all eastbound lanes on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, increasing the pressure on BART to carry transbay traffic. BRT runs transbay trains around the clock to serve transbay travelers.[18] Transbay Tube
2007 April 29 Highway transportation shutdown A fire in a gasoline tanker destroys part of the MacArthur Maze, closing two freeways feeding into the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. BART increases the frequency of transbay service and announces free transit and runs longer trains on Monday, April 30.[18][63] Transbay Tube, systemwide effects
2007 August 23 Team The BART Board of Directors votes 6-3 to appoint Dorothy Dugger, the current Interim General Manager, as General Manager. Dugger would become BART's first female General Manager, and would take the job after serving BART since September 1992 and being Deputy General Manager since April 6, 1994. She succeeds Thomas Margro, who retired in June.[64][65]
2008 January 1 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.50 (up from $1.25) and the excursion fare is now $4.90 (up from $4.40).[66]
2008 October 1 Work contracts Titan wins the exclusive right to manage advertisements on BART stations and trains (October 1 is the effective date, the winning of the contract is announced in March 2008), replacing CBS Outdoor, which has held the contract since 1998.[56][67] The company would later merge with Control Group to form Intersection Media.[68][69]
2008 Data BART conducts a Station Profile Study, to understand the profile of riders at each of its stations. This updates data previously collected in 1998.[55]
2009 June 1 Violence Oscar Grant is shot at Fruitvale station by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who restrained him after responding to reports of fights on a crowded BART train from San Francisco.[70][71][72][73] Fruitvale
2009 September 14 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.75 (up from $1.50) and the excursion fare is now $5.20 (up from $4.90).[74]
2009 September 30 Construction Construction begins on BART's Warm Springs Extension, extending BART from its current southeastern terminus of Fremont to a new station in Warm Springs/South Fremont.[18] Fremont, Warm Springs/South Fremont
2009 October 28 Highway transportation shutdown An emergency shutdown of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge leads to record increases in BART ridership. Ridership further increases as BART runs longer and overnight service to meet transbay travel demand.[18] Transbay Tube
2010 July 15 Legislation California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the BART Public Safety Accountability Act into law, giving citizens a role in directing policy and reviewing practice in the BART police force for the first time, in response to problems highlighted by the shooting of Oscar Grant.[75][76] The Act modifies the California Public Utilities Code to include authorization for the BART Board of Directors to establish the Office of Independent Police Auditor (OIPA), with specific authority to investigate issues and recommend solutions. The OIPA submits its first annual report for the year 2011-2012.[77]
2010 October 20 Construction BART celebrates groundbreaking of the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project, connecting the Coliseum station with the Oakland International Airport.[18] Coliseum, Oakland International Airport
2010 October 29 Construction BART has an official groundbreaking ceremony for the eBART extension, from the current terminus at Pittsburg/Bay Point to the city of Antioch. The extension will run separate electric trains rather than extend the current routes.[18]
2010 November 4 Ridership record BART records 522,200 daily riders, a record high, partly because of the San Francisco Giants World Series victory parade.[18]
2010 Report This is the earliest year for which BART's annual Report to Congress is available online. It is unclear if BART previously submitted reports to Congress.[78][79]
2011 February 19 New stations The West Dublin/Pleasanton station opens after several years of delays. It is an infill station, located on the Dublin/Pleasanton line between Castro Valley and Dublin/Pleasanton. It is the second infill station in the BART system after Embarcadero.[80]
2011 March, April Construction BART receives $19 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commisssion in toll revenue for the East Contra Costa County Extension Project, and begins construction on the project. The project involves a diesel eBART extension from the current northeast terminus of Pittsburg/Bay Point through Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, and Brentwood, to the Byron/Discovery Bay.[81][82]
2011 April 13 Team BART announces that General Manager Dorothy Dugger was quitting with extra compensation of $958,000 (severance of $600,000 and extra compensation of $350,000 for a smooth transition), and BART was beginning the search for a replacement. Dugger's last day at work would be April 22, 2011.[83][84][85] The announcement comes after a Board vote in February to fire Dugger,[86] which the Board then backtracked on after legal concerns are raised.[87]
2011 August 31 Grace Crunican, who had previously worked at the Seattle Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, and Oregon Department of Transportation becomes the new General Manager of BART.[88][89][90] The Board had almost finalized the decision to appoint her by early August 2011.[91]
2011 Report The 2011 Ambient Air Test Report is published. This is the first of two Ambient Air Test Reports available on the BART website, and shows that BART meets the thresholds for asbestos and respiratory dust set by the California Occupational Safety and Health Adminisrtation (Cal/OSHA).[78][92]
2011 Construction Construction begins on the eBART extension from Pittsburg/Bay Point station to Antioch. The two new stations being built on this extension are the Pittsburg Center and Antioch stations.[93] Pittsburg/Bay Point, Pittsburg Center, Antioch
2012 May 10 Train cars The BART Board of Directors votes unanimously to award a $896 million contract (plus applicable taxes and escalation contingencies) to Bombardier Transportation to design and construct 410 train cars. The cars will be 100% assembled in the United States, with at least 66% American parts.[18] The selection of Bombardier is from three bidders, based on technical capabilities and low cost, with Bombardier's bid 12% cheaper ($104 million cheaper) than the second lowest bid.[94]
2012 September 10 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.75 (no change) and the excursion fare is now $5.25 (up from $5.20).[95]
2013 July–September Data, Report The first of BART's quarterly performance reports (prepared by the Engineering & Operations Committee) is available for data in this period. The report is titled "BART Quarterly Performance Report 2014 Q1" as it was published in December 2013, which is 2014 Q1 in the United States fiscal year.[78][96]
2013 October 19 Accident A BART train strikes and kill two workers inspecting a dip in the tracks between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill BART staitons. The train has no passengers and is being operated for training of substitute workers. Reports suggest that the driver spotted the workers, shouted at them, and tried to stop the train but it was going too fast (60 to 70 mph) and could not stop in time.[97][98] A NTSB investigation blames BART's "simple approval" practice where workers can enter the tracks after checking with BART's Operations Control Center, with no additional measures in place. In response, BART phases out simple approvals, sets a 27 mph speed limit on trains running in parts of the system where workers are on the tracks, and requires a 32-hour training program every 2 years for all BART workers who get onto the tracks.[99] Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill
2014 January 1 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.85 (up from $1.75) and the excursion fare is now $5.55 (up from $5.25).[100]
2014 November 22 New stations BART opens (for revenue service) its Oakland International Airport station and its Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) connecting the station with Coliseum station. OAC does not use the standard BART tracks or cars, but rather, uses automated guideway transit (AGT). The route has a fee of $6, and although part of the BART system, using this route along with another BART route does not offer any price savings: if the fare for a trip from a station to Coliseum is $x, then the fare from the station to the Oakland International Airport (by combining that trip and AirBART) is $(x + 6). It replaces a $3 bus shuttle called AirBART.[101] Oakland International Airport, Coliseum
2015 Data BART conducts a Station Profile Study, to understand the profile of riders at each of its stations. This updates data previously collected in 2008.[102]
2015 September 14 Service frequency BART makes some enhancements to its service frequencies, including running the Richmond line an extra hour in the evening, and adding extra trains for the morning and evening rush hour.[103][104]
2016 February 8 Fares New, increased BART fares are effective from this date. The minimum fare is now $1.95 (up from $1.85) and the excursion fare is now $5.75 (up from $5.55).[105]
2016 March 17 to April 5 Service disruption On March 17, BART suddenly shuts down train service between North Concord/Martinez and Pittsburg/Bay Point stations, due to electric issues causing damage to train cars. It establishes a bus bridge between the stations.[106] On March 21, BART resumes limited train service during rush hours, while still operating a bus bridge at other times.[107] Regular service is restored on April 5.[108]
On March 17, the first day of service disruption, Taylor Huckaby, a 27-year-old agency communications officer, starts tweeting with the hashtag #ThisIsOurReality, highlighting BART's systematic problems, blaming growth beyond the initial expectations and design of the BART system, and pointing to the urgent need for more funding for BART to solve the problems.[109]
North Concord/Martinez, Pittsburg/Bay Point
2016 June 30, July, September Train cars, construction BARt unveils train cars for the diesel eBART East Contra Costa County Project extension, and does some test runs along the extension from Pittsburg/Bay Point to Antioch. The new stations, till Antioch, are expected to open for revenue service in 2017 or 2018.[110][111] A video of a test run is uploaded to the Bay Area Transit News YouTube channel on September 22.[112] Pittsburg/Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch
2016 October Report BART publishes a report "BART's Role in the Region", describing its role in the San Francisco Bay Area, its plan for the future, and the resources it needs to execute that plan.[113] The report comes shortly before Measure RR, a proposition to give BART a $3.5 billion infrastructure, is put up for the vote.
2016 November 7 Book The book BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System by Michael J. Healy is published by Heyday Books.[114][115] Healy served as BART's agency spokesman and had been with BART from November 1971 until his retirement in 2004.[116]
2016 November 8 Referendum San Francisco Bay Area voters approve Measure RR, providing a $3.5 billion infrastructure bond to BART for system repairs.[117] The bond would be backed by a tax levied on the three counties in the BART district, and would increase property taxes over a term of 30 to 40 years. Estimated average cost per household is $35 to $55 per year. This is the third time BART has issued general obligation bonds, the first time being the $792 million bond in 1962 for initial system construction (Proposition A), and the second time being the $980 million for the Earthquake Safety Program (Proposition AA).[118] The vote shares in the three counties are: 59.5% in Contra Costa County, 81.1% in San Francisco, and 70.8% in Alameda County, giving an average of 70.1%.[117][119]
2017 March 25 New stations BART opens its Warm Springs/South Fremont station for revenue service on this day (a Saturday), after an inauguration ceremony on Friday, March 24.[120] Due to limited availability of train cars, service frequency to this station is only half that of Fremont, causing disappointment for BART commuters.[121] Warm Springs/South Fremont, indirect effect on Fremont (which is no longer the terminus, and therefore has reduced passenger load)
2017 April 22 Violence A mass robbery occurs at around 9:30 PM at Oakland Coliseum station. A number of juveniles jump the faregates at the station, board a train, threaten the passengers, and extract valuables. By the time BART police arrives, they are already gone.[122][123][124] Coliseum


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