This month marks 40 years of BART service and the transit system is ready to celebrate with ice cream giveaways, free field trip tickets for school children and plenty of vintage BART photos to reminisce.

At a news conference held this afternoon at the Lake Merritt BART station, which served as the original BART headquarters in Oakland back in 1972, top BART officials including Board President John McPartland announced upcoming events and programs marking four decades of service.

BART today launched a program giving away 40,000 free rides for Bay Area students on school field trips.

Teachers can sign up online for the free trips on a first come, first served basis, McPartland said.

McPartland said this program is “pivotal on impressing on our younger riders on how important public transportation can be.”

Free ice cream from corporate sponsor Dreyer’s and bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes of Emeryville will be up for grabs at stations throughout the Bay Area starting on Sept. 29 at San Francisco’s Powell and Oakland’s Rockridge stations from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Ice cream giveaways will also be held on Oct. 13 and Oct. 27 at four other stations.
Although this is BART’s 40th anniversary, McPartland emphasized this year is also about honoring the riders who have made BART a successful transit system that has been serving as many as 400,000 riders a day in recent weeks, according to BART officials.

With this sentiment in mind, BART will be giving out 1,000 $40 BART tickets this Friday and Saturday to riders sporting a BART anniversary ticket that can be picked up at any BART station. A “BART 40th Anniversary Squad” will give out tickets to those at stations with the stickers prominently placed.

McPartland offered his own strategy for stickered riders to increase chances of receiving a free ticket, “Go early and get off at every BART station on the way to your destination.”

Riders will also notice decorated station agent booths at all 44 stations thanks to the hard work of a small BART crew that went around and put up 40th birthday streamers and decorations in the past two days, McPartland said.

Another component of anniversary celebrations includes collecting BART photographs and memorabilia. Anyone can post photos on BART’s Pinterest account, available at, or through with the tag “Bart40th.”

Emails of BART photos from years past can also be sent to

A commemorative video was also released today, showcasing 40 years of BART. You can view it above.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!