The bumping, jostling and high-stress levels that have been standard fare for BART passengers traveling out of The City on New Year’s Eve could be dissipated this year under a plan to split up service at San Francisco’s downtown stations.
Starting just after midnight on Friday morning, BART will not be offering service on its Richmond and Pittsburg-Bay Point lines at the Embarcadero station. BART trains heading to the East Bay from the Embarcadero station will only carry passengers on the Dublin-Pleasanton and Fremont lines.
Conversely, only Richmond and Pittsburg-Bay Point travelers will be able to board at the Montgomery Street station, which is about two blocks west on Market Street from BART’s Embarcadero station.
From the East Bay, BART will begin its revised inbound service at 8 p.m. — so, for example, passengers traveling into The City on the Richmond line will depart at Montgomery Street and not at the Embarcadero station.
The agency will post signage, make announcements over its loudspeaker system and deploy about 50 volunteers to alert passengers about the changes.
The service split is designed to ease the crush of passengers who flock to the Embarcadero station following The City’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the Bay Area waterfront. Last year, over 10,000 riders crammed into the Embarcadero station from 12:30 to 1:30 a.m., said Paul Oversier, BART’s assistant general manager of operations. During a typical rush-hour, about 7,000 people enter the Embarcadero station, which has a smaller boarding platform than the Montgomery Street station, Oversier said.
“When the stations get extremely crowded, it just raises the stress level of everybody,” Oversier said. “It’s simply not a comfortable situation for our passengers.”
Depending on staffing levels — the agency is still determining how many operators it will have on New Year’s Eve — BART should be running normal rush-hour service from about 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. From 2 to 3 a.m., BART trains should be arriving every 20 minutes.
Along with service changes, the transit agency will also be beefing up its enforcement presence for the holiday. There will be about 125 BART police officers on duty — up from 98 last year, Cmdr. Dan Hartwig said.
Muni rings in year with free service
BART isn’t the only local transit agency offering service changes for New Year’s revelers.
For the 10th straight year, Muni will be offering complimentary service on its transit lines for the New Year’s holiday. The free rides will start at 8 p.m. Thursday and will last until 6 a.m. Friday.
Muni will also be extending the hours of its underground transit stations and adding extra service to Owl lines. All of Muni’s Metro stations will stay open until 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and the department will add routes on several of its late-night Owl lines, including the 5-Fulton, 14-Mission, 22-Fillmore and 38-Geary.
Information on the New Year’s service changes is available online at Muni’s Web site, www.sfmta.com.
BART service changes:
Starting at 8 p.m. for passengers traveling into The City from East Bay
•The Richmond and Pittsburg-Bay Point lines will skip over the Embarcadero station and instead make their first S.F. stop at the Montgomery Street station
•The Dublin-Pleasanton and Fremont lines will stop at the Embarcadero station, but will not make stops at the Montgomery Street station.
Starting after the midnight fireworks in San Francisco for passengers traveling to the East Bay
•The Richmond and Pittsburg-Bay Point lines will not depart from the Embarcadero station. Passengers who normally travel on those lines should board at Montgomery Street station
•The Dublin-Pleasanton and Fremont lines will not depart from Montgomery Street station. Passengers who normally travel on those lines should board at the Embarcadero station.