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BART Breaks Ridership Records On First Day Of Bay Bridge Closure

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Many commuters who normally rely on the Bay Bridge to get to work were turning to BART and other public transit options Thursday morning. BART broke ridership records because of the Bay Bridge closure, which began Wednesday night, a BART spokeswoman said Thursday morning.

BART saw more than 16,000 additional trips made on Wednesday compared to the same day a week ago, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. That amounted to 427,554 total trips, making

Wednesday BART’s 10th-highest ridership day ever, she said. Between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday, BART counted 30,682 more trips compared to the same date in 2012, according to Trost. And from midnight to 4 a.m., when BART is usually closed, some 6,850 trips were made on the system, she said.

BART officials said they expect to see similarly high numbers of riders during peak evening commute hours from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. “We’re seeing a lot of new people on BART this morning and seeing lines back up at the ticket machines,” BART spokesman Jim Allison said. He encouraged regular BART users to keep their Clipper cards charged to avoid having to wait in those lines.

Both BART and the California Highway Patrol are urging commuters to be patient during the bridge closure, which was expected to last until 5 a.m. Tuesday. BART was providing 24-hour service at 14 stations during the closure.

Parking lots were filled early and commuters may have had more luck at the outlying stations like North Concord/ Martinez.

Representatives from other transit agencies said they have only seen slight increases in ridership.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said, “We’ve had maybe a few more riders than normal but it hasn’t been an explosion.”

AC Transit buses that normally take riders across the Bay Bridge were instead being routed to the West Oakland, MacArthur, Oakland Coliseum and North Berkeley BART stations.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Bay Ferry service operators didn’t see a noticeable increase in the number of riders Thursday morning, apart from one particularly crowded boat that left Vallejo early Thursday morning, ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez said.

Even if you survive the weekday commute, heed the warning of weekend activities in the Bay Area including; America’s Cup in San Francisco, Oakland’s Gay Pride Festival. In sports there’s the A’s fireworks game and Cal Bears football.

The effects of the bridge’s closure were felt as far south as Fremont. Nicole Doeherty, a commuter who normally takes the San Mateo Bridge to work, knew it would be extremely busy because of the closure.

She opted for BART instead and had to get up an hour earlier. Her biggest complaint; that she wasn’t able to say goodbye to her kids in the morning.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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