BART, BART, Muni for this Memorial Day Weekend Roundup

An eBART trainset. Photo: BART
An eBART trainset. Photo: BART

Lots of important transit milestones going into the Memorial Day weekend. Three important items are listed below:

1) Livermore Extension Rejected.

The BART Board, by a 5 to 4 vote, rejected the proposed Livermore extension of the Dublin/Pleasanton line down the center of I-580. The Chronicle did some excellent coverage of the dynamics of the meeting, but for the short version of what happened, San Francisco BART Director Nick Josefowitz summed it up nicely in his tweet:

Meanwhile, the vote may spur on the recently created Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is working on a separate plan for some kind of rail connection between the Altamont Corridor Express and BART.  It’s chaired by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. Streetsblog will take a dive into its proposals in a future post.

2) East Contra Costa BART Extension Opening Ceremony

Today BART and local officials did a ribbon cutting for the eBART extension to Antioch. That’s the diesel-powered light-rail train (see lead photo) that will start running in regular service tomorrow from the end of the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station down the median of State Route 4. The $525 million BART-to-Antioch project was 60 percent less expensive than conventional BART because the trains don’t require electrified third rail or the same level of infrastructure–they are smaller and narrower than BART’s fleet and run on standard-gauge tracks. “East County residents now have an environmentally friendly, comfortable and state-of-the-art commute option,” said BART Director Joel Keller, who serves East Contra Costa County, in a prepared statement. The extension, according to BART, will be able to carry an estimated 2,400 people in each direction, per hour, during rush hours. The new service is 10 miles long and adds two new stations, the Pittsburg Center Station and the Antioch Station.

The timing of the rejection of the Livermore extension and the opening of this less-than-full BART line tie together–BART has been slowly moving away from full extensions towards focusing on its core system.

On a side note, BART, ironically, opted not to provide rail or bus service to the opening ceremony itself.

3)  The Twin Peaks Tunnel Will Closed for the Weekend–and then for Much Longer

Back in San Francisco, commuters who depend on the Twin Peaks tunnel are in for some headaches. During this Memorial Day weekend, the tunnel will close after regular train service Friday night/tonight and re-open early in the morning on Tuesday, May 29. There will be bus substitutions for the K, L and M lines. West Portal and Forest Hill stations will be closed. Muni is encouraging riders to take BART if they can (although it seems, once again, BART won’t be taking Muni-only passes and tickets during this initial closure).

Additionally, the K will transition directly into the J as an alternate (albeit slow) route into downtown.

TwinPeaksClosure

This is just a prelude to a 60-day closure, planned to start in late June. Ugh.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

  • DrunkEngineer

    It’s chaired by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who also sits on the BART Board of Directors.

    Scott Haggerty is not on the BART Board of Directors.

  • mx

    “Muni is encouraging riders to take BART if they can”

    But it refuses to pay for it. “Riders last” is truly the Muni motto.

  • Roger R.

    Sorry, my bad. Fixed.

  • Roger R.

    Apparently they’re going to pay for inbound rush hour only when they start the two month closure. I guess that’s a baby step in the right direction?

  • shamelessly

    I’m all for the BART Antioch extension using standard gauge track — heck, what would it take to convert the entire system so we could use commodity parts rather than obsolete custom stuff? But I’m unclear how using diesel rather than electric is an environmentally friendly choice.

  • LazyReader

    The Livermore extension was a 5 billion dollar boondoggle. It was selected because Livermore is home to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Lab annex with over 10,000 employes. The government already shuttles federal workers using buses; why spend 5 billion on a suburban extension, apparently federal workers get preferential treatment so instead of inexpensive buses they’re entitled to fancier transportation at taxpayer expense. The BART extension was a waste of money, plus forgetting the fact BART has over 10 Billion dollar Backlog in longterm crucial maintenance. With it’s financial problems of; a decline in ridership and fares, BART’s staff has given the board a laundry list of things it can do to
    make up the shortfall: raise fares, crack down on fare evaders, increase
    advertising revenue, increase parking fees, charge companies that send
    buses to pick up employees at BART stations, and automate trains to
    eliminate drivers. Even if they do all of these things, however, they
    “will not be able to address the deficit” Not without making cuts to service. Not to mention employee corruption. Last November, Transparent California found that a BART janitor whose base pay was $57,000 a year actually earned $270,000 in 2015 with overtime and benefits. To get this, he supposedly worked 114 hours a week, which is more than 16 hours a day, every day of the year. But a local television station tracked this worker and found he was spending several hours a day hiding in a storage closet, while the stations he was supposed to keep clean remained filthy. If I was getting paid a quarter million to clean floors, those floors would be slick enough to play hockey.

    Service cutbacks aren’t going to solve the system’s long-term problem, which is that BART costs more than the region can seriously afford. Major reforms are needed, including renegotiating labor rules, a fix-it-first policy before building new infrastructure, and plans to phase-out worn-out rail lines and replace them with buses. Without such major reforms, all Bay Area residents can look forward to is increasing taxes to subsidize mediocre service. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de9f974945acf8bc86157782024d7eb0533919019f29ae4833abd66fb455acb7.png

  • Jeffrey Baker

    It’s more environmentally friendly than driving alone down SR-4 in your Canyonero.

  • Baby steps? I think we deserve more than baby steps. 6/1 is less than a week away and still no major announcements on the major shutdown of the TP tunnel for two months.

    As for BART, hey let’s schedule the opening of eBART the same weekend that BART suspends service on the PB line between Concord and Pleasant Hill.

  • Bruce

    Why should they pay for it? In point of fact, BART within San Francisco is even cheaper than taking Muni.

  • mx

    Yes, but Muni+BART is more expensive, and you might do that to backtrack to Balboa Park because of the shutdown. Riding Muni+BART+Muni also used to eat your Muni transfer on Clipper; I’m not sure if that ever got fixed.

    In an ideal world, it shouldn’t matter at all, because BART rides within SF should just be integrated into the same fare structure as Muni. There’s no good reason why perfectly reasonable trips are more expensive because we’ve made the bureaucratic reason to separate the services into two agencies, as most of Europe figured out ages ago.

  • Andy

    you can make it longer for the same number or $$

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