BART: The only way to ride


Two years after moving to Southern California from the San Francisco Bay Area, I finally stepped foot on public transportation again.


But it wasn’t in LA.

During a trip to the Bay Area this weekend to visit my family and attend my sister’s high school graduation, I hopped on BART.

BART has always been easy to navigate and relatively cheap — well, at least cheaper than it is to drive.

As I was riding the train to Pleasant Hill, I thought how pathetic I was for never riding Metrolink. Maybe I should spend less time complaining about high gas prices and more time planning my routes throughout Los Angeles on public transportation. But then, complaining is so much easier.

  • Former BART Rider

    I grew up in the Bay Area too. BART was hands down an awesome experience. Instead of stressing out over traffic, where you would park your car or how much gas you were burning you could quitely read the morning/afternoon paper (hear that Tribune editors); read a book; take a refreshing snooze or (gasp) strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Is there any way you could explore the possiblity of establishing a BART style system along the 10 FWY corridor say from West Covina to Downtown LA. It would get so many people out of their cars and would probably clean up alot of the air we breath. I would love to see more coverage on this topic, especially with gas prices being what they are.

  • Pasadonuts

    Trust me, you are not pathetic. BART is a lot easier and cheaper than the Metrolink here with very little stops… The goldline is a better comparison to the BART, but not the stage it is at now.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Metrolink and the Goldline are better than nothing but the critical problem with these systems is they don’t go everywhere the people need to go. With BART, especially in downtown San Francisco and in Oakland, the stations are not too far apart so you are always within 10 minutes walking distance of where you need to be. It’s not quite the same with Metrolink. In fact I don’t think Metrolink makes more than 2 stops after crossing the 605. We should have a Baldwin Park Station; an East El Monte Station; an El Monte station; a Rosemead Station; a San Gabriel Station; an Alhambra Station; and in Downtown LA at least 20 more stations in downtown LA so people can be within walking distance of their work. That would be a system people would ride in large numbers. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help bring this really important issue to the forefront of community discussion.

  • I was lucky enough to visit the great city of San Francisco only once but LOVED the experience on the BART. Same goes for the trains in DC. If only….

  • Anonymous

    Anon–you’re right about the number of stops. After the 605, it’s just El Monte and Cal State L.A..

    But if you stuck all those extra stops on to Metrolink then the train would pollute a lot more and take a lot longer to get downtown. Unlike BART, Metrolink is pulled or pushed by a diesel engine. It’s heavy rail and it takes a while to get moving. You don’t want to have to start and stop those trains more than once every ten miles or so.

    Increased frequency would do more to increase ridership than more frequent stops. It’s the job of buses and light rail to make the more frequent stops. Heavy rail is for longer distance commuters.

  • Transportation Marshall Plan

    How about this: A Transportation Marshall Plan for Southern California. If we construct lots of new stations and track for a BART style transportation system we put lots of people in the building trades back to work; instant stimulus to the economy. We also have the long run benefit of reducing motor vehicle traffic which would contribute to better air quality in Southern California; Good weather PLUS good air how could that be a bad thing. Better transportation makes housing values stabalize, if not go up, because now it’s not so much of a liability in terms of traffic and gas to live further out. More stations in downtown LA means more foot traffic in Downtown LA which means more retail sales opportunities, not to mention the added benefit of getting a 5 to 10 minute walk to and from the station each day. I don’t mean to sound like a Pollyanna; there will be big challenges but isn’t that what we American’s used to do best: TAKE ON BIG CHALLENGES. Is China the only Country capable of thinking BIG anymore. I hope not.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting proposals.

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting