back to top

50 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Bay Area Rapid Transit

BART is the fifth-busiest rail system in the United States. But despite its popularity, we riders tend to know very little about these trains moving us around the Bay.

Posted on

1. BART trains travel at speeds of up to 80 mph.

2. They typically go no faster than 66-70 mph though. The brakes could fail if a driver were to pull the brakes while going full speed.

3. It's been estimated that BART makes nearly $10 million per year off of discarded low-value tickets.

4. The minimum BART fare for trips under 6 miles in length is $1.85.

5. The maximum one-way fare (which includes multiple surcharges) is $15.40, and would be a trip from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Oakland International Airport.

6. Interestingly, the above route is the most expensive, but not technically the longest. Riders who go from Pittsburg / Bay Point to Millbrae take a longer trip, but pay less because of additional charges added to airport routes.

7. BART construction officially began on June 19, 1964.

8. President Lyndon Johnson presided over the ground-breaking ceremony.


9. When BART began operation, it included 28 miles of track and served 12 stations.

10. Today, BART comprises 104 miles of track, serving 44 stations in 21 cities.

11. Of those stations, 16 are at ground level, 12 are elevated, and 12 are underground subway stations.

12. About 100,000 people rode BART during its first week of service in 1972.

13. Over 400,000 people currently ride BART daily.

14. It's projected that daily BART ridership will reach 600,000 by 2040.

15. The most populated station is Embarcadero in San Francisco, which accommodated over 41,000 average daily riders in 2013.

16. The most popular station outside downtown S.F. is Downtown Berkeley, with over 13,000 daily riders in 2013.

17. The least popular station is North Concord / Martinez, which had less than 2,500 daily passengers in 2013.

18. BART moves an estimated 21,000 people per hour under the bay during rush hour.

19. BART employs over 3,000 people.

20. BART has five maintenance facilities.

21. There are nine publicly elected directors that make up BART's governing board.

22. BART's fleet is made up of 669 rail cars, which can be joined to form trains of up to 10 cars.

23. The BART system uses a 5-foot-6-inch "Indian gauge" to power trains, as opposed to the 4-foot-8½-inch "standard gauge" used by most rail systems in the United States.

24. As a result, all maintenance and support equipment must be custom built for BART.

25. When 10 cars are linked the train measures 710 feet in length.

26. BART cars are 10.5 feet wide.

27. All BART cars currently being used were produced from three separate orders, with the latest being produced in 1995.

28. BART's existing fleet is said to be the oldest among large domestic transit agencies. Cars have an average age of over 30 years. For comparison, Chicago's average car age is 26 years, and New York's is just barely over 20.


29. In 2004, BART became the first U.S. transit system to offer cell coverage to passengers using all major wireless carriers. As of 2012, there was only one section of BART still not covered by cell service.

30. BART manages over 47,000 parking spaces.

31. Nearly all BART stations have racks, and half have bike lockers.

32. About 49% of riders get to a BART station by car, 31% by walking.

33. Only 4% of riders get to a BART station by bicycle.

34. BART's bicycle program aims to double the percentage of riders who bike to a bart station by 2022.

35. BART service begins at around 4 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays. Service ends at midnight, but luckily there's an All Nighter bus that shadows BART and Caltrain services throughout the night.

36. Prior to opening a line to SFO, BART offered an AIRPORTER bus service that launched in 1983.

37. The BART line to SFO began transporting riders in June 2003.

38. The SFO extension has served over 30 million passengers since launching.

Made it to #sanfrancisco taking the #Bart from #SFO to my motel downtown... Then to #... (

Jacob Campbell@campjacobFollow

Made it to #sanfrancisco taking the #Bart from #SFO to my motel downtown... Then to #... (

1:40 PM - 27 Mar 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

39. Until recently all BART cars had upholstered seats. In 2011 it was reported that strains of mold bacteria were found on BART seats, including bacteria from "fecal contamination." 💩 🙉

40. BART officials quickly approved a $2 million project to replace seats and remove carpet flooring from cars.

41. In January 2015, BART announced that all seats had been replaced with easy-to-clean vinyl variations.

42. BART has made a big deal about getting public input on their new fleet of cars. Over 35,000 people have offered feedback on current and proposed designs.

43. Over 17,000 people visited a model of the new car during a viewing that took place at over 10 locations during April and May 2014.

44. The first 10 of the new cars are expected to go into testing sometime this year. However, passengers won't be able to experience any of the new cars until 2017.

45. When BART originally launched, it was hoped that all riders would be seated, which is why it can be difficult to find something to hold on to if you're standing. The new cars are aiming to address this problem by increasing the number of poles and hand straps for people of all heights to grab on to.

46. The new cars will be significantly less noisy than current ones, as plug-style doors will be used to seal out noise.

47. Although the new cars have fewer seats, by increasing the fleet size from 669 to 1,000 BART hopes to increase the total number of seats available by 38%.

48. As a result, BART anticipates a 43% increase in the number of passengers they'll be able to transport per hour.

49. The total cost for the 1,000-car "Fleet of the Future" project is estimated to come in at around $3.3 billion. However, only 775 cars have been ordered and additional funding will be needed for the remaining cars.

50. BART is hoping to have all of the new cars in service by…

Wait for it…



Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!