OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Bay Area Rapid Transit’s extension into Oakland International Airport opened over the holiday weekend with a promising start. But to make the costly project profitable, many more need to come aboard.

“It was more than we expected,” said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. “We’ve seen about a 15 percent to 38 percent increase in what was typically seen on the bus from the year before.”

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Even with a healthy start on the busiest travel weekend of the year, will the new multi-million dollar line to Oakland International break even over time?

For starters, there are the operating costs. Trost said, “$4.9 million. It does grow each year with inflation.”

That means BART needs about 2,745 riders a day to keep the 3.2 mile line running in the black.

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The operating costs do not include the debt service. That debt service is the $484 million it cost to build the line in the first place. To pay that money back, BART needs to almost double the ridership to more than 5,000 riders-a-day by 2030 or sooner.

Trost said they are projecting the daily ridership on the line to grow by 500 riders per day next year.

It costs $6.00 to take the train, and then you pay whatever additional BART fare needed to get to your final destination. While that may be a bargain for some, cabs and shuttles are still doing a brisk business from the airport.

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