SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After a year of low ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is seeing its ridership increase, leading the agency to expand service next month, agency representatives said Monday.
In a series of tweets Monday, BART’s communications team announced that its ridership numbers over the weekend were the highest the agency’s seen since March 2020. During the work week last week ridership averaged around 60,000 riders each day, with Friday seeing 65,628 riders, the highest since the pandemic began and about 84% of the daily average before the pandemic.
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As the pandemic dies down, BART is ramping up service. We're currently readying frontline staff with mandatory training needed to accommodate expanded service.
— SFBART (@SFBART) May 10, 2021
Seeing the need for BART rise in the Bay Area, the agency said it’s planning on using federal emergency relief funding to return services back to pre-pandemic levels but will need months to train new drivers.
“We opened the Berryessa extension without hiring so to scale back up, we need to hire/train more,” BART representatives tweeted on May 7.READ MORE: Chaos, Panic After Shots Rang Out At High School Championship Football Game
BART still plans on adding more train service until then: between June 1 and June 15, plans on adding 26 new weekday trips on the lines with the highest ridership, namely Yellow, Green and Red. Service on Saturdays will increase by 15 new trips.
The agency also noted that on May 15, all station entrances will be reopened.
BART also announced that the agency’s board will discuss bringing back service to pre-pandemic levels at its meeting Thursday. When these changes are implemented on Aug. 30, the agency plans to extend service hours to midnight again and the agency will offer 50% off on all Clipper card fares through the month of September.MORE NEWS: KPIX Reporters Remember Slain Security Guard Kevin Nishita; 'Just the Kindest Man'
“We want you to know we are not holding back. The federal emergency relief money gives us the confidence to hire more workers and to get trains back into service and increase frequency on weekdays and weekends, because weekends will play a key role in recovery. So take the train,” BART tweeted on May 7.