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The night that BART didn’t stop

on April 11, 2012

If you live in the Bay Area, there’s one question you’ve probably asked at some point: why on earth doesn’t BART run past midnight?

Over Presidents’ Day Weekend, it did. When construction shut down parts of the Bay Bridge, BART ran around the clock between San Francisco and the East Bay. Oakland North heads underground to find out what happens when the trains don’t stop — and why it can’t be like this all the time.

Produced by Rachel Waldholz. Camera by Julia Marshall, Amina Waheed and Byron Wilkes. Maintenance footage courtesy of BART.


  1. BW on April 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Please have them explain why a second transbay tunnel is needed. All you need with the infrastructure are areas where trains can come and go into repair yards. That doesn’t have to happen under water. This is Bart, which is a privately owned company not wanting to spend money on something that other urban centers take for granted. All night service. Needs to happen. Years ago.

    • BW on April 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      PS – did everyone know that Bart is not a government agency? It’s not.

      • Larry on April 16, 2012 at 12:02 am

        BART is not a privately owned company. It is a governmental transit agency created by the State of California and governed by an elected board of directors.

  2. Miguel on April 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    The truth is the blue hairs in SF want to make sure they get the rabble out of the city early every night. It comes at the expense of the entertainment industry, but the entertainment industry is the redheaded step-child in the city.

    • Mr Freely on April 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Late at night in San Francisco the automobile is will get you home you drunk or sober, or at least across the Bay Bridge and out of San Francisco

  3. Resnyc on April 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    The BART spokesguy is lying. A computerized system like BART could easily be set up to run single-track during the wee hours, on the short sections where they’re performing maintenance. The trains would only have to run every 30 minutes or so at that time of day, so the single-track sections could be as long as it takes a train to travel 15 minutes, then trains could pass each other at a meeting-point station. A megalopolis like the Bay Area not having 24 hour transit is ridiculous. And _completely_ shutting down a system as amazing and expensive as BART is also ridiculous.

    • Nikki W on May 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      I totally agree with Resync; there is no rational reason that BART needs another Transbay Tube or any other additional infrastructure to allow 24-hour service. The BART guy is just making excuses. Single-tracking was standard practice for over a hundred years before double-tracking was economically justifiable. We’re being “yada-yada’d” by BART. Thirty-minutes or even an hour between trains would not be difficult to implement.

  4. nf on May 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Couldn’t they just run bart 24 hours on at least Friday and Saturday night? They don’t need to do repairs everyday and most of the riders would probably just be going to the city on those nights.

  5. david vartanoff on May 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Resync is spot on. The repair shibboleth doesn’t explain what those workers do in the 5 hours of an 8 shift when the tracks are not empty. (trains are still running at 1 AM and start positioning moves around 4)
    @Miguel, Actually I think it is straights in the sprawlburbs who have no interest in late night SF entertainment who veto overnight service.

  6. Chris Fry-Lopez on June 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I beleive BART does not run passed Mid-Night because the BART Union voted it that way. I think it would be great if BART ran until 3:30am, At least on weekends. I think if BART ran until 3:30am on weekends it would created 100s of jobs, help many business in the Bay Area, help people avoid DUI’s, save lives by cutting down on the amount of drunk drivers on Friday& Saturday Nights, make the Bay Area a more fun place and creat more $ for the Counties of the Bay Area. New BART employees can work the grave yard shift. It would only do good by expending BART hours. I think the people of the Bay should start a movement to get BART running late on weekends.

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