BART tool estimates train crowds

Courtesy PhotoThe BART QuickPlanner app uses historical data to predict crowding on trains.

Courtesy PhotoThe BART QuickPlanner app uses historical data to predict crowding on trains.

BART has launched a handy new gadget that will give riders a snapshot of crowding levels on BART trains with a quick tap of their smartphones.

The beta version of the feature, which only estimates crowds, was announced Tuesday.

When riders use the BART QuickPlanner, the trip plan will show one of the following icons indicating the crowding levels on the trains: three heads (heavy crowding), two heads (moderate crowding) or one head (light crowding).

The new online feature was engineered in response to BART’s record ridership levels over the past year.

BART staff members are relying on historical data to determine how crowded the trains are, so it is not real-time information, and thus probably not always a 100 percent accurate head count.

“Although the data is not real time, the historic data we’re using is generally predictive,” said Timothy Moore, BART website manager.

BART officials think this new tool will be helpful to bicyclists.

“On the trains marked ‘heavy crowding expected,’ it may not be possible to bring a bike on board,” said Steve Beroldo, BART’s bicycle program manager. “It will be a much better option to choose a train with the ‘light crowding expected’ icon.”

erin.sherbert@sfweekly.com

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