Tuesday, November 3, 2009

BART shows its colors.

For the past week, the Bay Bridge was closed, leading to record BART ridership.

Now BART wants to know how to keep those passengers!

This bridge closure gave BART a unique opportunity to look at commute patterns in unusual circumstances. Who's getting on BART, where are they getting on and what do they like about it.

Perhaps they like the late night service. Maybe they like the longer trains in service at rush hour. Who wouldn't like those things? Probably not the regular BART riders. BART already has those customers and clearly doesn't really care about them. So with the bridge fixed, the late night hours go away, and the trains get shorter.

Unfortunately, that rider says he's getting back behind the wheel because it's more convenient, especially when he works odd hours. That's the kind of data BART will be looking at to see how it can improve service.

Excuse me? I'm a big fan of Freakonomics, but this is hardly "The hidden side of everything".

Here's a quiz.

1) Would you like it if BART ran later?

2) Would you like it if BART ran more frequently?

Is BART going to suddenly crack and decide to run earlier/later trains and restore the frequency in off hours, because a bunch of people who never rode BART in the first place said it was a good idea?

El Cerrito del Norte station has the highest increase of all the BART stations because of this Bay Bridge closure," Johnson said. "And that's because they're so many transit options terminating right there."

How will BART respond to this one? By working with AC Transit and County Connection to improve transit connectivity? Meld their schedules better with Caltrain? If history shows, they will prompty ignore this data and try to find funding to build another parking garage.

The ball is in your court, BART.

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