New South Bay BART Stations See Disappointing Ridership

Introduced during the pandemic in an area where many residents now work remotely, the new stations have failed to attract new commuters.

1 minute read

December 29, 2020, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

BART Station

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is optimistic for the future of the two stations. | Travis Wise / Flickr

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which serves the San Francisco Bay Area, opened two new stations this summer, hoping to draw more commuters to the system with a $2.3 billion extension to Milpitas and Berryessa. To bring BART to the South Bay, VTA, Santa Clara County's transportation authority, agreed to fund the extension and contribute to overall system improvements in exchange for keeping the proceeds from South Bay station fares and parking fees.

With COVID-19 bringing commuting down drastically as many Bay Area workers stay home, ridership to and from the new stations has been disappointing. VTA remains optimistic. "The systems were expanded looking out for 100 years — this is a long, long-term investment," spokesperson Bernize Alaniz told the Mercury News. With thousands of new apartment units going up around the South Bay stations, the agency expects a large influx of new BART riders in the coming months and years. Those who have used the new stations had positive reviews, citing them as "some of the nicest" they'd seen. And while many people can work from home during the pandemic, many essential workers still rely on public transit. Despite low current ridership, now is not the time to make cuts to essential transit services that serve the most vulnerable communities.

Monday, December 14, 2020 in Mercury News

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