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BART Warns Commuters About 3-Year Cuts To Early Morning Service

Holly Quan
December 11, 2018 - 11:00 am

OAKLAND — Early morning commuters are getting an early warning from BART that starting in February the first trains won't start rolling until 5 a.m., an hour later than now. 

The schedule change will affect commuters for the next three and a half years as the transit agency conducts seismic retrofitting of the Transbay Tube. 

Roughly 3,000 riders regularly use BART during the hour of service that's poised to be eliminated.

To accommodate them, BART is offering express bus service to San Francisco from some, but not all, stations in the East Bay. The buses will be faster and cheaper than the regular train ride, BART officials said on Tuesday morning as they alerted passengers to the upcoming changes.

"If you're coming from somewhere in Contra Costa County, and coming into San Francisco, which is how most of our early morning commuters travel, you're going to have to get on a bus at one of the stations that provide bus service," said BART spokesperson Anna Duckworth. "We have seven stations in the East Bay that'll have buses going directly from East Bay stations to the temporary transit center in San Francisco." 

These stations include Pittsburg/Bay Point, Pleasant Hill, 19th Street Oakland, Dublin/Pleasanton, Bay Fair, Fremont and El Cerrito del Norte. 

"There are also five East Bay-only lines to serve points in the East Bay, and two lines to serve San Francisco and the Peninsula," Duckworth added. 

People who normally park and ride from stations that don't have direct Express bus service will have to get to designated stations in order to catch one of those express buses. Later arrivals who park at the stations where bus service originates may find their regular parking lots more crowded than normal. 

"If you currently park at a station that's not going to have the early morning bus service, then yes, you would potentially have to drive to a different East Bay BART station, park there, then commute by bus into San Francisco if that's where your commute takes you," Duckworth said.   

Quentin, one of BART's early morning commuters, sounded a bit nervous about the change.

"I was shocked this morning - I've definitely got to figure something out," he said. 

David, another early morning rider, will simply catch a later train.

"My plan is to just deal with the 5 o'clock crowds," he said. "I don't need to work this early. It's my choice."

Some riders have said they'll be driving in rather than dealing with the hassle.

BART has posted its Early Bird Express bus service plan on its website. The agency has also established an option for riders to sign up to receive email notifications regarding upcoming service changes and related EZ Rider Parking payment changes. 

Written by Diana Shook.