Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by Head-end View
Hi ! I'm from New York and I'll be taking a trip to San Fran. next month, staying in Millbrae. I expect to be touring the BART system (again) and I'm wondering if there will be parking spaces available at say 10AM on a weekday, in the parking deck at Millbrae Station. The complex there was under construction when I last visited the area in 2002. So again, does that parking structure fill up completely by 10AM or can you still find a space there mid-morning? I think I parked at Colma and Daly City on my last trip.

Since it's been 8 years since I rode BART, is there anythihng new and noteworthy that I need to know about the system? I hope they got new fare machines since back then. I seem to remember the ones at Daly City were very temperamental and I needed assistance from the station agent. Any and all useful trivia would be appreciated. Thanks ! :-D
  by kevikens
I am from the Philly area and have relatives in the Bay Area. I visit each summer and have been doing so for a little over ten years. I was at the Milbrae Station several times this July and it did not seem overly crowded and there were spaces for parking. The time was mid afterenoon. As for the sytem as a whole I don't think much has changed in the past ten years or so. The machines take cash and dispense paper tickets. You can add value to the tickets. I usually put in a $10 bill which gives me a round trip for where I am going. One thing I have noticed is that some of the bathrooms in the stations are closed, those underground I believe, for security reasons. If you are looking for a good place to railfan may I suggest you take the BART Richmond train to the end of the line and transfer to Calif. Amtrak at that station and go one stop east to Martinez. Great ride along San Pablo Bay and the area around the Martinez Stattion will have lots of Amtrak and UP traffic. This line was the Espee's Cal P line and is very busy.
  by Head-end View
Thanks for the info Kev. I've railfanned the Philly/Bucks County area too. SEPTA is a pretty interesting system to ride. See you on the SEPTA forum............ :-)
  by Head-end View
As it turned out parking was no problem. The top level was about 2/3's empty at 10AM on a weekday, and it's only $1.00 to park. Good deal. :-D
  by kevikens
So how else was your visit? What did you see and ride?
  by Head-end View
Rode San Fran Muni, Cable Cars, and San Jose VTA; see my posts in those threads. And I will soon start a new thread for my Caltrain report. I used to find BART interesting years ago, but this ride was kind of boring except for the S.F. Airport link which was great the way it flies over the 101 Freeway into the airport terminal. I don't know why they built most of the extension from Colma to Millbrae underground. It mostly parallels Caltrain and it could have been elevated thru San Bruno like in Concord-Walnut Creek area in the East Bay; I understand Caltrain wants to eventually elevate thru San Bruno too.

Anyway BART already had one strike against them 'cause you can't see out the front. I also discovered that they charge a premium fare to and from the airport station. Very sneaky of them to overcharge airport users. Another issue I didn't understand was why you have to take 2 BART trains from Millbrae to the airport on weekdays. At the Millbrae complex, there is a convenient cross-platform transfer to BART for passengers getting off Caltrain from San Jose. But then, they must change BART trains at San Bruno with luggage, etc. again across platform for the airport train. Why doesn't BART run a direct train or even a shuttle from Millbrae Station to the airport during weekdays, like they do on nights and weekends? :(

And their trains in general are kind of boring. Again comparing that system to similar Wash. D.C. Metro, I think BART's trains are less interesting. Another issue that I had not noticed on previous BART trips is how noisy their trains are at high speed thru the tunnels. There's a really loud whine from the wheels I think. Don't remember hearing that on any similar subway systems. The rides to Concord and Dublin-Pleasanton are okay, but would be so much better if there was a front window view.

BTW, the Airtrain at SFO is great ride between the terminals and the rental-car facility. Huge front window, and built so high over the airport, it's a really cool view from that high up. A short, but very exhilerating ride! :-D
  by ExCon90
As I recall, BART originally had a Millbrae-SFO shuttle to complement the trains from SFO and Millbrae to San Fran, but I think I remember reading that the ridership was disappointing.
  by lpetrich
The SFO junction is a wye; trains can go from any leg to any other leg. However, BART canceled the SFO-Millbrae shuttle some years back.

Here are all the BART train routes at this time:
  • Richmond - Daly City - San Bruno - Millbrae - weekdays before 7 pm
  • Richmond - Daly City - Saturdays before 7 pm
  • Pittsburg/BayPoint - Daly City - San Bruno - SFO - weekdays before 7 pm
  • Pittsburg/BayPoint - Daly City - San Bruno - SFO - Millbrae - weekday evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Fremont - Daly City - weekdays, Saturdays before 7 pm
  • Dublin/Pleasanton - Daly City
  • Richmond - Fremont
So BART trains run
- San Bruno - Millbrae
- San Bruno - SFO
on weekdays before 7 pm
- San Bruno - SFO - Millbrae
at all other times
  by lensovet
ExCon90 wrote:As I recall, BART originally had a Millbrae-SFO shuttle to complement the trains from SFO and Millbrae to San Fran, but I think I remember reading that the ridership was disappointing.
ridership was to the tune of only 300 passengers daily when this service was eliminated around a year ago. note that BART has exact entry-exit ridership data due to the fact that you must present your ticket for exit, so these are very accurate numbers. and so it didn't make much sense to continue running the service.