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.
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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, makingREAD MORE: Woman Fatally Shot, Another Wounded Outside Pittsburg 7-Eleven Store
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.READ MORE: UPDATE: Outage Number Drops; Thousands in East Bay Still Without Power
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.