Starbucks at Bart stations? New ruling could make that possible

Agency directors approve station retail policy to add more vendors

BART directors have voted 7-1 to approve a new station retail policy that aims to bring more retail vendors within the free areas of stations in order to provide more revenue for the transit agency.

Although the ruling appears to be aimed at San Francisco Bart stations, Bart officials said the new policy is system-wide and could affect other stations as well, including the Pleasanton/Dublin East station and the new Pleasanton/Dublin West station that will open next month. New vendors could include a Starbucks or other refreshment and food services.

BART property development manager Jeff Ordway told board members at their meeting that the new revenue the agency hopes to generate would be used to help pay for its core functions. He said BART also hopes the new policy will provide a more user-friendly environment for its riders that would include a mix of both nationally- and locally-owned businesses.

He stressed that the policy doesn't change BART's "no eating or drinking" policy in paid areas of its stations or on its trains.

He said BART wants to encourage riders at its San Francisco stations to spend more time on concourse levels, where the retail outlets would be located, rather than waiting for trains on the platforms on the lower levels. The new policy creates a "master vendor program" under which one or more master vendors would establish multiple retail outlets and arrange for individual vendors at specified stations.

Ordway told the board that he and other staff members are still working out the details of the new policy but said, "At this stage we're recommending one master vendor for the whole system."

The lone director to vote against the policy was Director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco.

"I'm concerned that under a master vendor system we could lose a lot of control over vendors at our stations," he said.

Radulovich said he also thinks "we will be cheating ourselves of revenue" that will go to the private vendors at the stations. In addition, he said he's concerned that large national chains such as Starbucks could have shops at BART stations instead of small local vendors.

"Will this be a closed shop where locals don't have a chance?" he said.

But Director James Fang, who also represents part of San Francisco, said he supports the policy.

"The purpose is to bring some sensible services to our passengers," he said. "We want to make money, but we also want to provide convenient services to our riders."

Ordway said BART hopes to select a master vendor soon.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News, contributed to this story.

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Like this comment
Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

Hey BART!!

How about bathrooms and working escalators???


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Siena
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

I agree with you, unclehomerr....

I have never understood why so many stations always have broken escalators and elevators. I guess whoever has the job of "escalator repairman" with BART has total job security.

Like this comment
Posted by Works for me...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:53 am

There's already a thriving Peet's coffee concession on the upper level of the Downtown Berkeley station; always busy as folks grab a coffee on the way out of the station to school or work. Maybe this was one of the trial pilots, but it seems to work just fine.

Like this comment
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

There's also a Peet's at Embarcadero.

However, I'm with Uncle Homer for having clean bathrooms available at all stations. Maybe the two can go hand in hand (don't coffee shops usually have restrooms?)

Like this comment
Posted by Ryan
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:20 am

Since BART prohibits passengers from eating or drinking, punishable with fines as high as $250): this sounds like a rather lucrative move on their part.

Like this comment
Posted by Neman Toad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

BART's restriction against food and beverages on trains amazes me. Anyone that has traveled in Japan knows that food and beraverages are pervasive on their trains, even some alcoholic beverages. It is common for Japanese to grab a quick breakfast from a vendor and eat it on the train and to buy snacks from vendors or on the train. And, the trains in Japan are much cleaner than BART trains. Some of it has to do with the culture, the Japanese people have been trained to put their trash in a waste recepticle. Also, the Japanese trains to do not have carpeting - their seats and floors can be quickly washed down with water.

Like this comment
Posted by Ryan
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Neman Toad:

Agreed. Although, I've never been to Japan, I have used the MTR rail system in Hong Kong. It's also quite clean.

While I generally see BART as a decent way to get around, the very fact that it is one of the *best* mass transit networks in California is actually rather sad. It's rather ironic considering the region's politics.

Like this comment
Posted by mellow fellow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

One way to lower taxes OR keep revenue streams rolling for BART is commissions on concessions ... Movie theaters make more on their popcorn than the movie. You want gov't to be innovative then isn't this one way of doing it?

Like this comment
Posted by Bad idea
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm

This is just a bad idea. I rhode on BART Sunday and it was disgusting - stains on all of the seats, all over the carpets, you name it.

I think Singapore has something with their strict rules. I'm not for beating people, but you should see how clean it is on their transit system.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Never ridden CalTrain, especially on Friday? It's one big party. People even share their booze.

Like this comment
Posted by Honestly
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

BART is disgusting; I cringe whenever I have to walk on the trains, and have to tentatively touch the fabric seats before sitting down to make sure that someone hasn't peed all over the seat. The barf stains on the windows and the carpets are no attraction, either. I have ridden the subway in NYC as well as throughout their bus system, and honestly, the plastic seats and the non-carpeted floors of their trains and busses make SO much more sense and are SO more welcome. And have you ever accidentally hit the headrest of any seat on BART and had the "pleasure" of seeing the ensuing dust-mite storm? Disgusting to the Nth degree, and I'm the mother of male teens, so am already immune to a LOT of disgusting things already.

Like this comment
Posted by Another Broken BARTD Promise
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm

When they first proposed the BARTD one reason they gave for the high cost was that the trains would be carpeted to keep down the noise, and kept clean.
Now they are replacing the carpet with a tile like coating, and the noise is deafening.

Of course these are the same people who promised Livermore a station, took the money for building it, then tried to sell of f the land where it was to go. Now they are claiming that adding housing where the city does not want it will help get federal money. What happened to the money BARTD had originally, or has been taking in taxes for over 40 years?

Like this comment
Posted by BARDT secretly sold the Dublin Parking lot
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

to a developer. Next time you look all that ground level parking, which is already sold, may be just more Dublin overbuilding, and where will you plus all the new tenants park then?

Like this comment
Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

Anyone who travels in New York knows the same. The trains that bring commuters to and from the suburbs to Manhattan are eat and drink friendly. In fact, there are hundreds of places to buy food and drink in Grand Central Station to take on the train. The train seats are not hard plastic, either. They are high-backed, fake leather-type stuff. They're comfortable, and it's fun to bring delicious food from the bakeries and pizzerias in Grand Central on the train. I was very surprised to find hard plastic little seats and no food and drink on trains here and in D.C.

Like this comment
Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

Sorry, it's the Metro that has the hard plastic seats, not BART.

Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm

BART should take notes from other subway systems. Most, if not all, do not have these cloth seats that absorb food, dirt, liquids, etc. Instead, they are plastic seats that can be washed easily. Also, Bay Area residents seem to be smart enough to handle eating and drinking (even alcohol) on CalTrain so I don't think the world would end if BART allowed it. I've never seen an officer on a train though so I wouldn't worry about getting a ticket anyways.

Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Well, I hope that they'll be installing trash cans in more of the platform areas! It's disgusting... people leave partially empty food/ drink containers on the ground or on the train because there is nowhere to dispose of them once you go through the gate at stations like Berkeley, Lake Merritt, etc. A wee oversight on the part of the planners...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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