BART Ridership Steady; Satisfaction Drops

OAKLAND (KCBS/AP) – A pair of studies show mixed signs from BART riders: ridership hasn’t dropped despite the economy, but rider satisfaction has dropped.

The numbers from the latest Quarterly Service Performance Review show that ridership was barely better than flat, which some officials consider to be good news.

“The bottom line is it’s not going down,” said BART spokesman Linton Johnson. “In general, our ridership is a good indicator of what the economy is about to be.”

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

Another good indicator for BART is that it gets a little under half its revenue from sales taxes, with those increasing by 7.6 percent.

“If you were to talk to me a year ago at this time, we were talking major losses,” Johnson said.

On the other hand, a new BART survey shows a decline in riders’ satisfication.

Overall, 82 percent of riders surveyed still said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the train system. But that’s down two percent from 2008.

Sixty-four percent of riders rated BART a good value compared with 71 percent two years earlier.

Customers were particularly critical of BART’s cleanliness. Satisfaction with the condition and cleanliness of seats dropped by 5.6 percentage points and train floors by 4.1 points.

Johnson says the agency approved a deep-cleaning effort for trains after the survey was conducted. It is also trying to replace seat cushions more often.

The poll was conducted last year by BART was released on Thursday and comes as the agency has raised fares and cut back on service because of budget problems.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • LEO F.

    I am an ex-employee of bart from back in the day, when we had to walk the tracks and put ice on the electronics to keep trains running because of high temp. Or walk the trans bay tube at mid night to make repairs to ensure next day service. In short, from janitorial crews to technical crews we took pride in our work, and did what ever it took to keep the system operating smoothly. Young people take pride in your work, and in America. It is sorely needed.

  • richard kales

    The pollsters didn’t ask ME, but if they had, I would have replied that the system is simply the best way to commute. It may have flaws but they are far smaller than ANY other type of transportation system

  • Gordon Ross

    Excellent comment LEO … I agree 100% and hope the youth entering the marketplace will drop their “rights of expression”and their minor complaints and just put their nose to the grindstone. It’s a competitive world out there, stay devoted to your job, work hard, don’t doge and try to find excuses…work is a good thing.

    • Mari

      Young people today no nothing about a good work ethic. We’re lucky BART runs at all.

    • Byron

      I’m unsure why we need to drop our rights of expression to have a good work ethic?

  • Futura

    How about lower the prices a bit. Extend hours past midnight. Increase late night ridership, keep people from driving drunk after a night on the town.

  • Sam

    The biggest problem for me was the people blabbing on their cell phones or talking super loud to a person sitting right next to them. People are trying to nap, study, and relax, but they can’t because someone is having a phone conversation about what a wild Friday night they’re going to have tomorrow. I’ve had to move to different trains before because of this. I stare down people on their phones and they stare right back, knowing what they’re doing, but basically telling me they’re more important than everyone on the train and they don’t care. I’m glad I don’t have to ride BART anymore, but that was easily my #1 annoyance. I was actually considering buying a signal blocker at one point.

    • Todd1952

      George Bernard Shaw wrote that he had no tolerance with those who are “feverish little clods of petty ailments and grievances that the world will not devote itself to making them happy.” BART is part of the larger world, it’s totally _public_ transit — not your own private transit. Nor is it the public library or one of the few other public places where conversation isn’t allowed (such as the theatre or the movies). Conversation is allowed on public transit and always has been. If you can’t tolerate conversation around you while riding public transit, you shouldn’t ride it. Once you’re home, you can have all the quiet you like, if other people are such an annoyance, I assume you live alone.

    • UnhappyBartRider

      It’s normal anymore for people to have a cell phone and be yapping on it anywhere with much-a-say about nothing BUT it’s not acceptable and they have to observe some decorum in respect to their surrounding and consideration for others. However, someone talking on their cell on BART is no different than if they were yapping with a friend sitting next to them! Talking loudly and shouting over the annoying rail noise is still annoying while many of us would like to read, relax, or work on our laptop.

  • UnhappyBartRider

    All BART employees are over paid and their salaries need to be controlled by the voters. It’s not fair that most of us make under 50K/yr with a college degree while many of the BART employees make an average of 80K/yr. On top of it they have attitude too especially the employees working their information booths.

    Furthermore, BART does not need cushy comfortable fabric seats holding all kind of odors, cooties, and disease and they need to switch them to fiberglass seats or any material that could be washed daily. I have witnessed with my own eyes homelss people peeing on the seats while totally drunk.

  • Bartsucks

    I ride Bart to work begrudgingly because it is a straight shot to the Embarcadero station, that’s the only perk of riding it. People who love Bart are crazy. Why I say crazy? If you have ever been to a train station or ridden on a train in Hong Kong you’ll know exactly what I mean

    Leo made an excellent point about the hard work that he poured into the system many years back, unfortunately this generation of employees don’t share this sort of pride but they still do it in Hong Kong. The trains in Hong Kong do not stop in the transbay tube, do not stop for the train in front of it to get it together before moving on. The trains are super clean, they don’t have caked on grease and dust. The seats don’t smell like urine. The floors are not stained or smelly. The train station themselves are well lit malls, like some of the nicer malls here in the U.S. Bart is just deplorable, you just want to get the hell off of it as soon as you get to your destination. It’s dark, dirty, smelly and inefficient. When I go down to Bart I feel like an Ant going back to their colony. For people who think Bart is great, you really need to get out of California and explore the world. There is much better out there and I mean much much better.

    • bartsucks

      I forgot to add, the trains are so damn squeaky and loud. Feel like we’re riding something that can fall apart at the next sharp turn. Worst than a wooden roller coaster. Train in other countries run like a dang Toyota Prius, you don’t even know the train is there until you feel the wind coming in your direction, that’s how trains should run.

      I forgot to add, the MTR system, HK’s version of Bart serves 3 million passengers a day, that’s 10x Bart average daily take. Just goes to show it can be done here but laziness and greed persist which is why we all have to settle for mediocre Bart experience at best

  • joe rockbottom

    BART is OK, but not world class. I take it daily for 50 minutes. It’s far better than driving the route, but just marginal in functionallity. The train seats are dirty and the train mechanisms are unbelievabley noisy for a modern system. At times the noise of the wheels on the track is deafening and even painful. And what is that constant electronic whine from the ceiling??? The drivers are constantly jerking the triain forward as if they have little control, making people fall on one another. BART does not enforce the no bikes at rush hour. The other day I tried to get into a train at Embarcadero at 5pm and three bikes were blocking the door! And people with bikes are ALWAYS walking around the platform at rush hour. Is anyone paying attention? I don’t like that and I am a bike rider!! I keep bikes at the station but NEVER take them on the train.

  • Der Flakester

    I remember riding Bart in 1973 when I was getting ready to be shipped out to ‘Nam. What a wonderful modern day thrill compared to life on our WW2 vintage carrier! Now Bart is older than that old fossil ship we were on and I swear the interior hasn’t changed one iota since the war! Stinky and as noisy as flight ops… YECH!!

  • AmericanBlues

    BART needs to put the same posters all around the station and in the trains telling people that this is THEIR train and they should take care of it.

    It worked when Smokey the Bear and the crying Indian did it for many years!

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