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Will BART run trains later on Saturday nights?

By dcuff
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 6:00 pm in BART.

BART is going to look at running trains past midnight on Saturdays to serve people coming back from a night on the town. If it happens, the proposal would be the first change in operating hours in 22 years, says Bob Franklin, the new BART board president.

Hours after Franklin called for a study on the proposal Thursday, BART top managers issued a press release saying the transit district will convene a study group to examine the idea. Read here about the proposal.

BART could make a lot of people happy by providing them with a  way to get home late at night without driving their cars. The later hours also could save lives by keeping drunken drivers off the road, Franklin said.

But the change is no slam dunk. BART officials say they must figure out how to get train track maintenance done if the trains are running longer in the wee hours of the morning. Employee unions must be involved in talks on changing the work day for operators, station agents, police officers, and others.

BART also must involve San Francisco Muni talks because BART and Muni share stations in downtown San Francisco. How do you keep the BART areas open longer without having Muni do the same?

And there’s another issue: will running trains past midnight on Saturdays cost more, and if so, how would BART pay the higher costs?

“If people hear about the idea, then we can get some feedback from the public,” he said.

In his comments this morning after being selected board president for a year, Franklin also said that BART tentatively plans to open its new West Dublin/Pleasanton station on Feb. 19, one day after a planned ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Opening of this long-delayed  infill station will give BART riders a new place to board trains and a new place to park their cars. Problems with a pedestrian bridge that had to be rebuilt delayed the station and made it more expensive.

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