OAKLAND (CBS SF) — BART officials on Monday afternoon announced that on Wednesday the transit service would begin running trains every 30 minutes during weekdays until further notice due to the ongoing coronavirus shelter-in-place order reducing the number of riders in the Bay Area.

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The transit service made the announcement shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, issuing a press release and tweeting about the change on the agency’s official Twitter account.

 

“As the Bay Area counties have now extended mandatory shelter in place orders, BART service needs to be reduced to match demand, increase essential rebuilding projects, save costs, and maintain reliable service based on staffing levels,” the press release read.

Beginning on Wednesday morning, April 8, riders can expect trains every 30 minutes instead of the usual every 15 minutes. According to the agency, ridership data indicates social distancing will still be possible on all trains with this change.

BART officials said the move could potentially save $3-7 million per month from the agency’s operating budget.

“Ridership is now at 7 percent of what is usual, and these changes allow us to increase essential rebuilding projects while also ensuring we can provide reliable and predictable service,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers. “With so many unknowns about the length of the shelter in place orders and the timing of recovery, we must take steps to protect the operating budget while also protecting our ability to run service every 30 minutes.”

Another service change that will start on Wednesday is that BART will be moving up the time the Warm Springs-Daly City (Green) and Richmond-Millbrae (Red) lines that provide direct service to/from San Francisco end and 3-line service begins. The change will allow for a longer work window for power cable replacement in San Francisco.

The last two trains in both directions on those lines will be cancelled. The final departures on those lines will be as follows

  • The last Warm Springs-Daly City (Green) line train departs Warm Springs at 5:16pm and arrives at Daly City at 6:26pm.  It then departs Daly City at 6:43pm and arrives at Warm Springs at 7:54pm.
  • The last Richmond-Millbrae (Red) line train departs Richmond at 5:41pm and arrives at Millbrae 6:51pm. It then departs at Millbrae at 7:18pm and arrives at Richmond at 8:24pm.

Single tracking in San Francisco will begin around 8 p.m. to allow for construction work.

Officials said the new 30-minute train scheduling will create one sizable gap in service. It occurs on the Red line Richmond-bound train that departs from Millbrae at 6:18 p.m. To avoid this gap, customers should board the SFO shuttle from Millbrae at 6 p.m. and connect with the Antioch line train at SFO at 6:26 p.m. and then transfer at MacArthur at 7:10 p.m. to the Richmond train.

The new schedule will be available online at the Bart.gov website starting Tuesday, April 7. Riders can use the PDF schedule available on the site to start planning their trips and what time they should arrive at the station to avoid a long wait.  Riders can also check real-time departures on the website before heading to the station.

The current reduced weekend schedule will not be affected, BART officials said.

Last month, reduced ridership forced the agency to cut its hours of operation, shifting it’s closing time from 12 a.m to 9 p.m.

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