OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- With a huge decline in the number passengers as a result of the coronavirus shelter at home orders, Bay Area Rapid Transit will be ending service at 9 p.m. daily beginning next week, the agency announced.
BART says ridership levels have declined by 90% since the COVID-19 outbreak, which requires it to take action to reduce operating costs. Following a review of the ridership and train car loads this week, BART said the following service changes are in effect until further notice:
• Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, BART will provide service Monday-Friday from 5am-9pm (currently service is 5am-midnight). Current weekday train frequency will remain.
• Starting Saturday March 28, 2020, Saturday and Sunday service will be from 8am-9pm (currently Saturday service is 6am-midnight and Sunday is 8am-midnight). Current weekend train frequency will remain.
All riders must be in the system by 8:45 p.m. to have a guaranteed ride to their destination, the agency said
"This decision is being made now because all 9 counties in the Bay Area have shelter in place orders and our ridership has plummeted 90%," said BART General Manager Bob Powers in a prepared statement. "We are taking a data-driven approach to these decisions to ensure as few people as possible are impacted. These are extraordinary times and we did not take this decision lightly. Our system operates using public dollars and we have an obligation to make financially sound decisions about service levels."
BART said closing early is a better option than running less frequently or running shorter trains after 9pm because the agency will realize immediate costs savings to its operating budget by being able to reassign a significant number of operating staff to capital projects. The agency said the immediate loss of fare revenue has a devastating impact on BART's operating budget.
BART said it is also seeking emergency funds from all levels of government during this crisis.
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