BART shatters records subbing for bridgeBy Erik N. Nelson
More people rode BART this weekend than at any time in the rapid transit system's 35-year history as Bay Area residents sought alternatives to driving over the closed Bay Bridge this Labor Day weekend.
On Friday, after the bridge closed at 8:07 p.m., 389,400 riders flocked to BART, making it the all-time one-day record. The previous record was set on June 13, when a Police concert and Giants game swelled ridership to 381,200.
This Saturday saw 278,600 riders, up from the previous Saturday record of 229,600 set March 3, when riders celebrated Chinese New Year, and 208,700 Sunday riders eclipsed the Sunday record of 195,700 set with the help of participants in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade.
"I think we're pretty much stunned that we broke the record as much as we did," said BART spokesman Linton Johnson.
The Saturday and Sunday showing were helped by packed hourly trains between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., a time when the system is ordinarily closed.
Doing all-night service on a permanent basis would't work too well, Johnson said, because that's when maintenance is performed on trains, tracks and other system components.
"If we did have that overnight service, we'd have dismal, dismal ontime performance," he said, because the maintenance breaks help ward off breakdowns.
While the weekend ridership bonanza brought in $57,200 worth of fares, it cost about $130,000 to run the system -- another reason overnight service is impractical, Johson said.
"Caltrans is going to make up the difference," he added, "and obviously Caltrans is not going to make up the difference on a daily basis."
Copyright ©2007 Contra Costa Times. Published 09/04/2007.