BART updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are in unchartered times here in the Bay Area. We at BARTable usually show you all the fun and exciting events around our stations, but know that now isn't the time and that many of our BARTable partners have been impacted by postponing or cancelling events, closing their doors for the foreseeable future, and even altering their business models as part of a series of measures to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
As part of the Bay Area, we wanted to share with you what BART is doing to help try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 
 
This page is being continuously updated below. 

Response and prevention efforts

BART staff is taking necessary action to prepare for the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We monitor coronavirus developments on a daily basis and receive frequent updates from local, state, and federal public health agencies and local jurisdictions.
 
BART, along with all other transit systems, is taking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and public health departments. These experts advise us that operational changes are not necessary at this time. However, we stand ready to make changes if the situation changes. 
 
The District has taken the following preparedness actions:
  • Station Cleaning: We are wiping down hand-contact surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectant more frequently each day. As of March 11, we also will add hand sanitizers each station.  All 48 stations will have at least one dispenser mounted in the paid area of the station.
  • Train Car Cleaning: We are wiping down handrails and stanchion with germicidal wipes at end-of-line stations. We continue our regular car cleaning, responding immediately to urgent messes and biohazards, and the scheduled “thorough clean” disinfecting process, including BART to Antioch cars.  As the coronavirus spreads into our communities we want our riders to know that BART is a safe way to travel and that if riders practice good hygiene it will help provided safeguards in between our stepped-up cleaning cycles.
  • Customer Communication:  Multi-lingual posters provided by public health officials with tips about protecting against the flu and coronavirus are being displayed in stations for public view.  The following message has been programed to run on the plaform digital signs and was sent out in a service advisory via email, text, and Twitter: BART is working to prevent the spread of coronavirus by wiping down hand-contact surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectant more frequently each day. Please cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Thank You.
  • Employee Communication: Good personal hygiene posters have been distributed and posted at employee work locations. Staff has been provided self-quarantine guidance for employees who have recently traveled to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice Countries. BART employees are being kept up to date on personal hygiene and preventive measures recommended by the CDC. This includes how CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks for those who are not sick.  Procurement has ensured current inventories of PPE such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers, face masks for positions that require them, and hand wipes are currently adequately stocked in our warehouses. BART staff has formed an internal task force that is meeting regularly and is dialed into the updates and recommendations coming from local, state, and federal public health officials. We’ve developed an emergency response plan and contingencies if the situation escalates.
  • Procurement Activity: Staff has ensured current inventories of PPE such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers, face masks for positions that require them, and hand wipes are currently adequately stocked in our warehouses. Hand sanitizer dispensers have already been distributed to many work locations and will continue to be delivered to all locations.
  • Get accurate information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and prevention here

Prevention tips

Current prevention tips include:
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Maintain physical distancing, at least six feet apart, from others. 
  • NEW: CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. More info on this can be found here.

15-step plan to welcome riders back to riding BART 

BART is working hard to reimagine transit service as the region begins to reopen and riders return. We understand the public is looking to us to provide reassurance that service is as safe as possible and social distancing is followed. To welcome riders back and regain confidence in public transit, BART is taking the following 15 steps while continuing to explore new measures and technologies that could assist in a safe recovery.
 
Step 1: Cleaning
 
 
BART is using hospital-grade disinfectant in stations and on-board trains. Train poles are wiped down with disinfectant at the end of the line during service hours. Crews use electrostatic foggers on train cars that spray disinfecting mist that coats and clings to surfaces. Station touchpoints are wiped down multiple times each day.
 
Step 2: Run long trains
 
BART is committed to running service that allows for social distancing. We will continue to run long trains all day to allow riders to spread out. 
 
Step 3: Increase train frequency
 
BART is currently running service every 30 minutes on weekdays. We are monitoring ridership daily and will add additional trains during commute hours in the 15-minute slots once data shows that train cars consistently have more than 30 people on board. 
 
Step 4: Pilot new seat configuration
 
BART’s Fleet of the Future provides for modular seating. BART will pilot a new configuration of seats that could potentially help create space between riders. 
 
Step 5: Require face coverings 
 
 
BART will continue to require face coverings at all times for all riders ages 13 and older. Consistent with county health orders, children aged 12 or younger are not required to wear a face covering and children aged 2 or younger should not wear one because of the risk of suffocation. Currently Downtown San Francisco station agent booths have extra masks for those who need one.
 
Step 6: Police enforcement
 
BART Police will continue their efforts to increase staff presence in stations and on-board trains, including sworn officers, non-sworn personnel, fare inspectors, and ambassadors. When enforcing the face covering requirement, BART Police will center their efforts on education and providing masks for those who need one.
 
Step 7: Visual indicators
 
Large decals, posters and banners are being printed and will soon be displayed throughout the system and on-board trains to reinforce social distancing expectations and the face covering requirement. 
 
Step 8: Hand sanitizer
 
BART will continue to offer hand sanitizer at every station. We are making large signs, so the dispensers are easy to find. 
 
Step 9: Contactless payment
 
Clipper allows for contactless payment at BART. Riders are encouraged to get Clipper and load funds online in advance or get auto-load. This will reduce lines at the ticket vending machines and reduce customer touchpoints. BART will speed up efforts to eliminate the sale of paper tickets and to go Clipper-only at stations systemwide in the coming months. BART is also speeding up efforts to expand the official BART app parking payment feature to all stations (currently available at five stations). More info on the stations transitioning to Clipper-only can be found here.
 
Step 10: Personal hand straps 
 
 
BART will offer personal hand straps for riders to use and take home for cleaning after each trip. A limited supply will be handed out as a surprise giveaway inside some stations to welcome riders back. The hand straps are available for purchase for $5 plus tax by phone order by calling 510-464-7136, in person at the Customer Service window at Lake Merritt Station (Monday-Friday 7:30 am–4:45pm) and through a soon-to-be-launched online store.
 
Step 11: Data transparency
 
BART will continue to post daily ridership numbers at www.bart.gov/covid showing what percentage ridership is at compared to Pre-COVID-19 ridership. During the first part of recovery, this will help reassure riders there is no crowding. 
 
Step 12: New technologies and industry best practices 
 
BART will continue to explore new technologies used by transit systems across the world in response to COVID-19. For example, BART is evaluating a variety of new cleaning procedures such as ultraviolet disinfecting to determine if new methods are safe, won’t cause damage, and are more effective and efficient than current practice. As best practice trends related to safety and customer experience emerge, BART will examine how practical implementation would be for our system.
 
Step 13: Business community outreach
 
BART will encourage employers to allow for staggered shifts to help spread out the commute and avoid crowding during peak travel times. BART staff will also participate in virtual town halls with companies to answer questions about BART service and new safety measures.
 
Step 14: Healthy workforce
 
 
BART’s greatest asset is our employees and they must remain healthy to continue to provide service. BART is supplying workers with PPE and supplies and offering COVID-19 testing to employees. Station Agents have been advised to stay inside their booth as much as possible to limit exposure. Work areas are being disinfected frequently.
 
Step 15: Rebuild infrastructure
 
BART is using this time of record low ridership to accelerate infrastructure rebuilding projects facilitated by the extra work hours made available due to an earlier closing time. 

BART to run every 30 minutes Monday-Friday

As the Bay Area counties have now extended mandatory shelter in place orders, BART service needs to be reduced to match demand, increase essential rebuilding projects, save costs, and maintain reliable service based on staffing levels. Starting Wednesday, April 8, Monday-Friday service will run every 30 minutes until further notice. Ridership data shows social distancing remains possible on all trains with this change. Effectively, every other train is being cancelled Monday-Friday. Weekend service will remain unchanged. 

Reducing service also allows greater flexibility to maintain stable service should BART employees need to take time off due to illness or to care for children and family members.   

This move will potentially save the operating budget $3-$7 million per month. The savings is realized by shifting employees to capital improvement projects that are not funded by the operating budget. BART is using this time of historically low ridership to focus on essential infrastructure projects that typically are very disruptive to riders or can only be accomplished during overnight hours. These rebuilding efforts have been designated as essential public works projects per the region’s public health orders issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Three line service will start earlier in the evening

Starting Wednesday, BART will move up the time the Warm Springs-Daly City (Green) and Richmond-Millbrae (Red) lines that provide direct service to/from San Francisco end and 3-line service begins.  This will allow for a longer work window for power cable replacement in San Francisco. The last two train dispatches in both directions on these lines will be cancelled and single tracking in San Francisco will begin around 8pm.

  • The last Warm Springs-Daly City (Green) line train departs Warm Springs at 5:16pm and arrives at Daly City at 6:26pm.  It then departs Daly City at 6:43pm and arrives at Warm Springs at 7:54pm.
  • The last Richmond-Millbrae (Red) line train departs Richmond at 5:41pm and arrives at Millbrae 6:51pm. It then departs at Millbrae at 7:18pm and arrives at Richmond at 8:24pm.

There is only one hole in the new 30-minute schedule. It is on the Red ine departing from Millbrae at 6:18pm. To avoid this gap, customers should board the SFO shuttle from Millbrae at 6pm and connect with the Antioch line train at SFO at 6:26pm and then transfer at MacArthur at 7:10pm to the Richmond train.

All riders must be in the system by 8:45pm to have a guaranteed ride to their destination.

BART will monitor ridership data each day to determine how long these service hours will be in effect. For more information on this development, please click here.

Early Bird Express service changes starting Monday, April 27, 2020

Beginning Monday, April 27, 2020, service on all 13 Early Bird Express (EBX) bus routes will be reduced or discontinued until further notice due to decreased ridership during shelter-in-place orders. In mid-March, the network carried roughly 1,000 riders per day. Today, that number has dropped to between 100 and 150 riders, an 85-90% decline in ridership.
 
Since the shelter-in-place order was established, BART and its seven partnering bus agencies have been working to monitor ridership trends, evaluate potential service options, and craft a data-driven service plan. EBX service needs to be reduced to match demand, save costs and support our transit partners in maintaining reliable service based on staffing levels. Partner bus agencies have also indicated that EBX service reductions are needed to free up their overall service capacity to sustain their core routes.
 
The following routes will continue running with the number of daily trips reduced:
  • 701 (Pittsburg/Bay Point Station to Salesforce Transit Center)
  • 702 (Pleasant Hill Station to Salesforce Transit Center)
  • 704 (El Cerrito Del Norte Station to Salesforce Transit Center)
  • 705 (MacArthur Station to Salesforce Transit Center via 19th St./Oakland Station
  • 706 (Bay Fair Station to Salesforce Transit Center via Fruitvale Station)
  • 713 (Salesforce Transit Center to San Francisco International Airport Station)
  • 714 (Salesforce Transit Center to Daly City Station)
The following routes will be discontinued:
  • 703 (Dublin/Pleasanton Station to Salesforce Transit Center)
  • 707 (Fremont Station to Salesforce Transit Center)
  • 708 (El Cerrito Del Norte Station to 19th St./Oakland Station)
  • 709 (Antioch Station to Pittsburg/Bay Point Station)
  • 712 (Pittsburg/Bay Point Station to 19th St./Oakland Station)
  • 715 (North Concord Station to Pleasant Hill Station)

Previously announced service changes

  • Monday-Friday service is 5am-9pm (previously 5am-Midnight) began on Monday, March 23.
  • Saturday-Sunday service is 8am-9pm (previously Saturday service started at 6am) began on Saturday, March 28.

Service during Bay Area shelter in place order

BART will continue to provide service for riders performing essential activities and for riders travelling to and from “essential business” work, with long enough trains to allow for social distancing. Based on ridership levels last week and over the weekend, social distancing is happening on BART. There is enough space for riders to remain six feet from each other. Increased cleaning and disinfecting are continuing in stations and trains.
 
The order provides the following guidelines specific to transit:
  • BART, along with other essential businesses, are “strongly encouraged to remain open.”
  • To the greatest extent feasible, BART should allow for social distancing of at least six feet from any other person including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.
  • People must use public transit only for purposes of performing essential activities or to travel to and from work to operate essential businesses or maintain essential governmental functions and essential infrastructure operations and maintenance. People riding on public transit must comply with social distancing requirements, to the greatest extent feasible. The shelter in place order defines each of those categories.
Essential travel also includes travel:
  • to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members.
  • to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members.
  • to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
  • to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  • to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
  • required by law enforcement or court order.
  • required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County.
BART staff and frontline workers continue to deliver safe BART service. BART staff is being provided the tools they need to perform their job safely including hand sanitizer, germicidal wipes, face masks for positions that require them, and other personal protective equipment. We offer an Employee Assistance Program with resources that can assist with child/elder care referrals, financial consultation and counseling with a licensed mental health clinician.
 
If you are sick, we ask you not to ride BART. If your travel isn't essential, we ask that you follow the order and not ride BART.
 
The trains must continue to run to ensure lifeline service to those workers who will keep the region functioning during these trying times. For continuous updates, including updates on ridership numbers, please click here
 
From our BARTable team, please stay safe and healthy! We hope you check out our #virtuallyBARTable content at bart.gov/bartable. 

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