I’m planning an upcoming trip to San Francisco and I was startled by the massive difference in both service level and tone between BART and the CTA. As you likely know, the CTA here in Chicago is threatening major service cuts and fare increases($1.75 to $2.25 with transit card):
Due to insufficient state funding, the CTA will be forced to raise fares and eliminate service on January 20, 2008.
The CTA will eliminate 81 of its 154 bus routes; lay off more than 2,400 employees; and raise fares to record levels. In addition, with more than 700 fewer buses operating due to the bus route eliminations, the CTA will close three of its eight garages. Service on the remaining routes will be provided by other locations.
The CTA is fighting for funding to avoid these cuts. Contact your state legislators and tell them how important mass transit is to you. Go to SaveChicagolandTransit.com (UPDATE -site is offline 7/2009) for more information.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission (BART) is scheduling a 33% increase in service while increasing fares a nominal amount (about 5%):
“Just as everyone is winding down with their holiday gift giving, we’re going to deliver our customers a goody bag of great service,” BART Board President Lynette Sweet said. “We hope our plans for richer service will put a big smile on the faces of all our 360,000 weekday riders.”
Starting January 1, 2008, BART riders will see enhanced service including:
- More trains, more often after 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday & all the time Sunday
- Double the trains to most stations on the San Francisco International Airport (SFO)/Millbrae extension
- Faster commutes times and direct service from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco
- Earlier start time for train service to SFO
33% SERVICE INCREASE MEANS MORE TRAINS, MORE OFTEN
The new schedule change will mean more frequent service after 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all the time on Sunday. During this time period trains will run every 15 minutes instead of every 20 minutes.
“That’s a 33% increase in service,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. “We’re extremely excited to be able to offer the same frequency of service at night that our customers currently enjoy during the day. This will be a boon for drivers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with nighttime and weekend traffic jams. We have plenty of parking during this time, giving people a greater incentive to avoid the traffic tie ups, save the environment, jump on BART and enjoy a hassle-free ride.”
FASTER, MORE FREQUENT SERVICE ON SFO AND MILLBRAE LINES
Starting January 1, the popular Pittsburg/Bay Point (Yellow) line will begin serving SFO at all times while the Richmond (Red) line will go directly into Millbrae Station starting January 2 (January 1, BART will run on a Sunday schedule). This means that commuters going from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco will see a six-minute (16%) drop in their travel time.
Which region is truly more green? Which region is more focused on quality of life? It’s amazing how two similar web sites in terms of function can send such massively different messages, isn’t it?