BART passengers will probably never have the chance to routinely ride the train system late at night, but they might be able to do the next best thing.
A regional bus system operating until 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday after train service ends would carry passengers from San Francisco to the East Bay under a one-year pilot program being recommended by the transit agency.
The buses would serve select stations along the Pittsburg-Bay Point and Fremont lines, picking up passengers in The City at stops along Market Street starting at Van Ness Avenue. Duplicating BART’s nighttime train schedule, the buses would run every 20 minutes, and passengers could reach their destinations nearly as fast as if they were on a train, said Paul Oversier, the agency’s assistant general manager.
Unlike current late-night bus service, passengers could reach a majority of their destinations without having to make transfers, Oversier said. About 25 to 30 people are expected to take each bus out of San Francisco.
BART would outsource the bus service to AC Transit and County Connection, two East Bay operators. Oversier said both carriers support the plan. There is no proposal to travel out to Richmond, since AC Transit currently has late-night bus lines serving that area.
Several efforts to run BART trains later on weekend nights have been rebuffed because the agency says maintenance crews must perform crucial trackway work during those hours.
“BART is tapped out in terms of service hours,” Oversier said. “But it’s not really BART that people want, it’s the service characteristics. And we can duplicate those with late-night buses.”
Overall, the bus service is expected to cost $800,000. Alameda and Contra Costa counties would pay $500,000, BART would pay $200,000 and the rest would be covered by fares.
Bob Franklin, a BART board member who has been a longtime supporter of late-night service, said the bus program would “provide workers and the late-night crowd with an easy-to-understand, expandable transit option after BART closes.”
Tom Radulovich, another BART director, also praised the program, although he said it would be better if buses also traveled to San Francisco International Airport and went in both directions between the East Bay and The City. Still, he said the proposal is a good start.
If the plan is approved — BART’s board of directors and other regional bodies must sign off on it — service could begin by September.
Late Night Services
BART is seeking to add late-night bus service from The City to the East Bay, starting when train service ends until 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Frequency: Every 20 minutes