SAN FRANCISO (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit released a beta-version feature for its Internet and mobile sites on Tuesday that gives riders an estimated snapshot of passenger levels when then they plan a trip.

The feature is part of BART’s QuickPlanner page.

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“Go to our mobile site, you pull up the Quickplanner, you say your leaving a certain station and it’s going to show you the next five trains and how crowded, on average, those trains can be.” BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

Trost said, however, this is not real-time information. The estimates are based on historic data and will help riders plan their trips.

“It’s based on the entire train, so the middle trains are always going to be more crowded,” she said.

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The crowding level feature is also intended to provide guidance to bicyclists, because even outside commute period blackouts, bicyclists are instructed to “only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your bicycle,”under the BART bike rules.

“This feature will be useful to bicyclists, because on the trains marked ‘heavy crowding expected,’ it may not be possible to bring a bike on board,” said Steve Beroldo, BART’s bicycle program manager. “It will be a much better option to choose a train with the ‘light crowding expected’ icon,” he said.

BART is making is crowding estimates available to the public as the agency is experiencing record ridership.

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