BART sets ridership records, works to keep 'new' passengers

Surveys to help agency develop marketinig campaign

BART set ridership records while the Bay Bridge was closed for repairs, and now that it has reopened the transit agency is trying to keep as many of its new passengers as possible.

More than 1,500 people have responded so far to an online survey BART is conducting aimed at finding out why people who used its service during the bridge closure don't do so regularly under normal conditions.

The survey began last Wednesday, the first full day of the bridge closure, and concluded Tuesday.

BART board Vice President James Fang said in a statement, "We care about what our passengers have to say" and he'd like to have new BART riders switch to the transit agency for the long term.

Board President Thomas Blalock said, "We're overjoyed that commuters turned to BART in record numbers during the bridge closure" but he's afraid that ridership may decline again now that people once again have the option of driving across the Bay Bridge.

Blalock said the economy is one of the most important factors in ridership so BART's ridership may not increase until the economy improves.

BART officials said they will study feedback from the current survey, along with data from a similar survey done during the Bay Bridge closure over Labor Day weekend, to look for ideas to help them retain new riders.

Before the recent bridge closure, which ended about 9 a.m. Monday, BART was averaging about 340,000 passengers a day on weekdays, about 3.5 percent less than its average of 370,500 passengers a day in October 2008.

Last Wednesday, BART set an all-time daily ridership record by carrying 437,000 riders. On Thursday, it set a new record by carrying 442,000 riders. That level was 24 percent more than on a typical Thursday, according to BART officials.

On Monday, BART had 393,200 riders, which was the seventh-highest total in its 37-year history. BART's ridership for Tuesday will be available today.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Why I don't use BART:

(1) The parking situation at many locations is deplorable. Some people, myself included, would have to leave at least 1 hour earlier if not more, just to be able to find a parking space. Some stations do not have street parking nearby which is a real problem. Furthermore, even the "commuter spots" which require a monthly fee are not even guaranteed. What are people supposed to do if they can't find a place to park? Drive home and walk or take the bus back? That obviously isn't going to work, so it forces people to leave a lot early than they really have to which defeats one of the purposes of taking BART in the first place.

(2) BART + Bus options are not convenient. I cannot simply take BART in order to get to most places I have to go in the morning. A complete route would include BART plus a bus ride. The bus system makes me sick. The swinging motion and the constant starting and stopping makes me nauseous. This is even worse on the double-buses that constantly swing up and down.

(3) Taking BART adds so much extra travel time to my commute that I'd rather sit in traffic. At least that way I can listen to books on tape, make calls from my bluetooth headset and so forth.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I love BART. I take it all over the Bay Area! HIP HIP HOORAY!

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I think the BART management let it go to their head. Not too many smart dudes running BART. Hey people, the only, only, only reason we used BART was because the damn bridge was closed. Unless you are going to a location within 10 or 12 block of a BART station...forget it. And Anonymous is correct...parking is a real joke. The BART folks finally got what they wanted and they can't handle it. These senior management people have no clue on how to run and operate a great system like BART. Cholo, you finally got something love is a good system, if it was run properly.

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