BART’s late-night service extension plan irks early-morning weekend passengers

Examiner file photoExaminer file photo

About two-thirds of the passengers who would be affected by BART’s plans to run late-night weekend service expressed displeasure with the proposed schedule change — raising questions about whether the initiative will be implemented.

With an overwhelming majority of surveyed passengers upset at BART’s late-night service plans, the agency director behind the proposal said it should be scrapped.

BART board President Bob Franklin had proposed running service 30 minutes later on Friday nights, but due to maintenance schedules, the agency would have to push back its opening train times on Saturday morning.

“You’re out to support the drunks on Friday nights at the expense of the working man on a Saturday morning,” read one of the sampled quotes from a passenger.

Another sampled quote was more blunt.

“Quit trying to screw up our lives!”

According to a survey conducted during the early morning hours on Saturday, 50.5 percent of the riders expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the plan, and an additional 16.8 percent said they were somewhat dissatisfied.  

Extending BART on Friday night would not have been cheap — the annual costs would total $1.1 million to run one train line for an extra 30 minutes. With the high costs and passenger opposition, Franklin said the money would be better spent on express bus services.

He said that for $1.1 million, the agency could run 44 bus lines. Those buses — branded with the BART logo and located at secure station shelters — could carry late-night passengers on both Fridays and Saturdays. Unlike with the early morning passengers, many of whom feared being late for work, the late-night bus riders would likely be more amenable to the plan since they wouldn’t be under any significant time constraint, said Franklin.

Of the early-morning passengers recently surveyed by BART, 76 percent were minorities. In 2010, the agency lost $70 million in federal funding for a planned project because it failed to conduct proper outreach to minority and low-income communities.

On Thursday, the agency’s board of directors will discuss the late-night service changes.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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