24 Hour BART People: Huge Spike In Ridership Expected During Bay Bridge Closure

With the Bay Bridge closing for up to five days starting next Wednesday, motorists will have to find alternate ways to get across the span.

To put in the final touches to ensure the new eastern span opens by Sept. 3, the entire bridge will shut down starting at 8 p.m. on Aug. 28.

The bridge is expected to open at 5 a.m. on Sept. 3 — if not sooner.

During the shutdown, BART will be running 24-hour train service, there will be additional ferries, and other area bridges will be taking on extra motorists.

BART will run trains constantly through the night of Sept. 2.

Regular service will resume around 4 a.m. on Sept. 3.

Overnight service will be available hourly at 14 stations between the Concord and San Francisco International Airport stations and El Cerrito Del Norte and Dublin/Pleasanton stations.

Oakland’s MacArthur Station will serve as a transfer point for both lines.

BART is anticipating heavy ridership during the bridge closure and will run longer trains.

During the 2009 Labor Day weekend closure ridership increased 30 percent, or an extra 230,000 passengers compared to the same five-day period from the year before.

On Labor Day BART will be on a Saturday schedule, and parking regulations will proceed as usual at all stations. There will be free parking on Saturday, Sunday and the Monday holiday.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit buses that normally carry passengers across the bridge will be diverting transbay bus riders to one of four BART stations, including the Coliseum, West Oakland, MacArthur, and North Berkeley stations, transit agency spokesman Clarence Johnson said.

The last AC-Transit bus will cross the Bay Bridge from San Francisco at 7:10 p.m. on Aug. 28 and once the bridge reopens normal service will resume, Johnson said.

AC Transit staff will be deployed at the four BART stations during the shutdown to assist passengers with altered travel logistics.

For those taking to the roads, regional traffic officials are advising drivers to allow extra time when taking other bridges such as the Golden Gate, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo-Hayward and Dumbarton bridges.

Those who need to get to Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island will be allowed with a special permit to access those areas from the San Francisco side.

Another transit option is taking a ferry, which will provide expanded service from Vallejo, Oakland, and Alameda into San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry during the week will be running 10 boats instead of its usual eight, and on the weekend and Labor Day will have five boats instead of three, according to SF Bay Ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez.

On some routes, such as those from Alameda to San Francisco, there will be boats available over the weekend and holiday when normally there is only weekday ferries, Sanchez said.

The bridge is closing to allow crews to pave, stripe lanes and put up barrier rails as part of finishing construction efforts for the $6.4 billion project.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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