Starting as early as September, BART plans to start train service in the entire system one hour later on weekdays — from the current 4 a.m. start to a 5 a.m. start — in order to provide more construction time on a massive $276 million retrofit project for the Transbay Tube, the transit agency announced on Friday.
While the Transbay Tube is “structurally sound,” it would be vulnerable in the case of a massive earthquake event, according to the transit agency. Work on the retrofit project will begin as early as September, but could be moved to February 2019 depending on the ability of AC Transit to secure enough bus service for first-hour riders.
Roughly 2,400 people use BART in the East Bay between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., and of them 64-percent disembark in downtown San Francisco, according to BART.
To a smaller degree, the retrofit project will also impact evening service. During construction, BART plans to run trains on a single track through the tube each weeknight from 9:30 p.m. till the close of service at midnight. That will allow crews to transport equipment via the closed track, but also means trains during that time period will run every 24 minutes instead of the current 20 minutes, BART said.
The service changes are occurring with the aim of shortening the project timeline by four months, saving $15 million in project costs, BART officials said in a statement.
BART is asking riders to take this survey on any impacts the later start time will have on their commutes.
“Results will be used to guide the alternative commute options being decided,” BART said.