Struggling to Attract Riders, BART Rethinks Its Service Schedule

Today is Friday. With ridership still less than half of what it was before the pandemic began, BART is rethinking its service schedule. Also, what are those strange new structures at bus stops in Los Angeles?

Since bus and subway ridership plummeted in 2020 with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, transit agencies everywhere have struggled to bring back customers and make ends meet.

But few agencies have had as tough a time as Bay Area Rapid Transit.

Ridership on the five-county rail system, whose trains were packed with passengers during rush hour, is only 45 percent of what it was before the pandemic began — the lowest rebound rate of any public transit agency in the country. According to one of To American Public Transportation Association

The subways of Los Angeles are moving. 65 percent Among passengers they were before COVID-19, and ridership of the San Diego public bus and trolley system has returned to pandemic levels.

One of the main reasons, of course, is the rise of remote work, which has hit the Bay Area in particular because so many tech jobs can now be done from anywhere. Now there are fewer people overall. Commuting to San Francisco every dayand it’s unclear when or if that might change.

“San Francisco is at the tail end of the commute train, so to speak, and so it’s a very unique set of circumstances that we’re trying to address here,” said Robert Powers, BART general manager. K, told me.

Carrie Watkins, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, says the agency operates primarily as a commuter rail line, not an intercity transit service, so its customer base is relatively narrow. .

“It’s very much about work travel, as opposed to other types of travel you might be doing,” Watkins told me.

In contrast, San Francisco’s bus and light rail system, Muni, which transports people locally between city neighborhoods, has seen its ridership fall by 80 percent since the pandemic. Earlier, according to APTA, and in the East Bay, the Oakland-based AC Transit bus system was operating with about three-quarters of its previous passenger load.

BART’s long loss of ridership has been a disaster for the agency’s finances. Passenger fares and parking fees covered just 21 percent of BART’s operating costs in 2022, compared to 66 percent in 2019. According to the agency.

Federal pandemic relief funds helped fill the gap, but they are expected to dry up in the next few years, leaving BART to face operating deficits of at least $150 million annually, according to agency data. will have. Powers and leaders of other California transit agencies are hoping that Gov. Gavin Newsom will give them a lifeline in next year’s budget proposal, but they has yet to do so.

Powers said his agency is planning to slightly rearrange BART’s train service over the next few months.

During the week, ridership has picked up more on Saturdays and Sundays, indicating that people are more interested in returning to BART for other types of trips rather than commuting to work. So, starting in September, BART plans to increase service on nights and weekends, while reducing the number of trains running during weekday rush hours.

Powers says he hopes the shift will meet the current needs of Bay Area residents, while giving the agency time to see if more workers return to offices, and whether public transportation in California can improve. New methods of financing pregnancy will emerge.

“As regular people navigate this remote work thing, they want more nights and weekends — going to dinner, going to shows, going to sporting events,” Powers told me. “These are the types of amusement rides in the Bay Area that we see as where the opportunity to grow our rides is.”

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Today’s tip comes from Wendy Holder, who recommends wine regions in Riverside County:

“I love visiting Temecula. The wineries are my personal sanctuary, especially mid-week. With so many to choose from, you can experience many small, quaint wineries, like Palumbo. . can browse shops, try local cuisine in restaurants and experience the unique character of the city at your own pace.

Despite its small size, Temecula has a big heart that resonates in its warm and welcoming community. From the locals who greet you with friendly smiles, to the sense of community that permeates every corner, this town exudes hospitality and authenticity. It’s the hearty conversations with winemakers, the passionate dedication of local artisans and genuine connection with fellow travelers.

Tell us about your favorite spots in California. Email your suggestions. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

A camera under a South Lake Tahoe home Got incredible footage A mother coyote nurses her newborn cubs.

The videos show the adorable cubs playing in the snow, fighting and crowding around their mother, CBS Sacramento reports.

“It’s been one of the most amazing learning experiences I’ve had with any wildlife species,” said a local nature lover who set up the camera.

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