BART trains were indeed quite crowded this weekend, as the 3-day closure of the Bay Bridge made BART the fastest and most convenient way to cross the bay, and the numbers are now in to prove it. Throughout the weekend, BART broke all previous records and set its all-time ridership highs. This weekend, there were also a few fairly major events in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley which no doubt also helped to boost ridership:
- There were 389,400 riders on Friday 8/31, eclipsing the previous weekday record of 381,200 riders. The previous record was held on June 13, when there was a Giants home game and a concert at the Oakland Coliseum on the same day, on opposite sides of the bay. Average weekday ridership is usually around 350,000, so last Friday beat a standard, run-of-the-mill Friday by about 40,000 additional riders.
- There were 278,600 riders on Saturday 9/1, eclipsing the previous Saturday record of 229,600 riders for the Chinese New Year parade on March 3. Saturday’s ridership was no doubt much boosted by the Cal football game that day, as well as the first day of the Art & Soul music festival in downtown Oakland.
- There were 208,700 riders on Sunday 9/2, numbers likely boosted by the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, held in Golden Gate Park that day, as well as the second day of the Oakland Art & Soul festival. This number eclipsed the previous record of 195,700 riders on June 24 for the Gay Pride Parade.
How did we fare in terms of ridership on the additional late night trains? There was a total of 21,100 riders on late night trains for all three days, with the most popular night being the early morning hours of Sunday 9/2. Not a bad showing, considering that trains were only stopping at 14 (about one-third) of the stations and were only running once per hour. However, while there was only about $57,200 in passenger revenue, the overnight service cost about $130,000. The large difference between those two figures was reimbursed to BART by the California Department of Transportation. As much as we might enjoy having 24-hour BART service, the late night trains are far from a money-maker.
In any case, it is great to see that many additional Bay Area residents left their cars at home and chose BART as their mode of transport to enjoy the great weather and the bounty of events from the weekend. We can only hope that they will do so more often in the future.