On September 11, 1972, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (B.A.R.T.) was officially born when it began its first day of commuter service. Ten years earlier more than 60% of San Francisco area voters approved a 792 million dollar bond issue to finance a 71.5 mile high-speed transit system, consisting of 33 stations, and serving 17 communities in three counties.
The B.A.R.T. has had a productive four decades. Not only has the transit system consistently met area commuter needs, but it is also an industry leader in technology. Upon opening, the Operations Control Center maintained the largest monitor display board of its kind in the country. The system made civil engineering history with completion of the $180 million dollar, 3.8 mile seismically-designed Transbay Tube.
To maintain a record 96% passenger on-time reliability, accommodate 2040 projections of 2 million additional area residents, and to address $15 billion in "state of good repair" maintenance needs, the B.A.R.T. leaders needed to determine how they could ensure that the next forty years of service are as successful as the first forty.
B.A.R.T. is addressing these concerns and many others with its Future B.A.R.T. project Metro concept.
The B.A.R.T. Metro concept is a customer-driven multi-operational strategy that focuses on improvements to tracks, systems, and stations, and which introduces new lines (or new "infill" stations along existing lines) and a new fleet of train cars.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, B.A.R.T.'s existing 669 car fleet is the oldest fleet among large domestic transit agencies (like Chicago and N.Y.). Transit system leaders expect the $3 billion-plus capital investment in this new fleet will not only improve propulsion, communications, and failure monitoring systems but will also optimize maintainability, reliability and cleanliness; minimize impact on the environment/be sustainable; and provide more capacity and improved service.
On May 10, 2012, B.A.R.T.’s Board of Directors awarded a new $896 million, 775-car contract to the Canadian-based Bombardier Transit Corporation. President John McPartland regards “this environmentally-friendly, high-tech fleet” as going a long way to realizing the Future B.A.R.T. Metro concept.
To learn more about the state of transit systems in the U.S., check out the 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.
Click here for information about the 2011 San Francisco Bay Area Infrastructure Report Card.