OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Bay Area Rapid Transit announced Thursday that the agency will return to what they described as "near pre-pandemic service" ahead of schedule and that limited late night service will begin later this month.
The transit agency said that service hours will expand to midnight on Mondays through Saturdays starting August 2, instead of August 30.
"We know there's increased pressure to get there sooner - because people are back at work and nightlife is coming back," BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told KPIX 5.
BART officials said they were able to make the change "thanks to our labor partners collaboratively accelerating the hiring, training & shift sign-up process."
Under the changes, weekday service hours will be from 5 a.m. to midnight, with trains running at 15 minute frequencies from opening through 8 p.m., and at 30 minute frequencies from 8 p.m. to midnight.
On Saturdays, service hours will be from 6 a.m. to midnight. Five lines will operate and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, offer four trains per hour on most lines.
Meanwhile, Sunday service hours will remain 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with three lines operating and trains running every half hour. BART officials said Sunday hours remain limited due to infrastructure work, including the critical cable replacement project.
In the meantime, BART plans to run late night service to a select number of stations on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting July 15. Officials said the late night service would be in addition to special service for nighttime Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants games.
Late night limited service trains depart from Embarcadero and Civic Center stations at 11:30 p.m. and only serve 16th Street Mission, Daly City, West Oakland, MacArthur, Pleasant Hill, El Cerrito del Norte and Bay Fair stations.
"It's gonna stop at just a few stations, it's under 10 stations that this service serves," Trost told KPIX 5.
Earlier this week, BART reported that weekday ridership has reached 20% of pre-pandemic levels, while weekend ridership is at 35%.
BART is now averaging 80,000 riders a day, but the schedules for employees are made months in advance, causing some of the re-opening slow down.
"In December, think back to what the Bay Area was like in December, that's how long it takes to change a schedule at BART to rebid the shifts and hire up. And so we were at the height of the winter surge, vaccines hadn't been rolled out — no one at all was thinking about a full opening of the economy," Trost said.
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