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practical reasons why BART-to-SFO is a disaster

Quite simply BART-to-SFO has major fatal, permanent flaws:

  1. route time is not competitive. During the early morning rush taking a Baby Bullet train from points south of Millbrae to 4th and King with a transfer to Muni is faster. I did this for a year before Baby Bullet service started. Also there are express buses that take Caltrain riders to places like Fort Mason. Caltrain-to-Muni is more of a timed transfer. Caltrain-to-BART does not offer a timed connection and there is a lot of sitting around waiting.
  2. Transferring to BART is more expensive. Caltrain-Muni combination offers monthly pass discount. BART has no monthly pass.
  3. Getting to the airport is now much harder than before BART.

To expand on the last point on the difficulty of getting to SFO now. Lets compare the before and after picture:

Before BART:

  1. Get off Caltrain at Millbrae
  2. Get on (free) bus waiting for each Caltrain. The bus waited for you to shlep your luggage into the bus.
  3. Passengers were dropped directly off at their airline terminal.
  4. Unload bus.

Passengers did not have to go up and down at all with luggage and screaming kids.

Compare that to now:

  1. Get off Caltrain at Millbrae.
  2. Drag luggage (and kids!) to elevator #1.
  3. Wait for elevator #1.
  4. Load luggage into the elevator #1. (“Stop pushing the buttons!”)
  5. Unload elevator #1
  6. Buy BART ticket. (Hassle with change and bills)
  7. Drag luggage through BART gate #1.
  8. Drag luggage to elevator #2.
  9. Wait for elevator #2.
  10. Load luggage into the elevator #2. (“I said, ‘Stop pushing the buttons’, Rose!”)
  11. Unload elevator #2
  12. Drag luggage to BART train #1.
  13. Wait for doors.
  14. Drag luggage into BART train #1.
  15. Unload luggage from BART train #1 at San Bruno.
  16. Drag luggage to BART train #2. (less than a minute to do this with kids..go,go,go!) (damn missed it!)
  17. (wait 15 min for next train)
  18. Wait for doors.
  19. Drag luggage into BART train #2.
  20. Unload luggage from BART train #2 (at SFO) ( “Are we there yet!”)
  21. Drag luggage through BART gate #2.
  22. Drag luggage to elevator #3.
  23. Wait for elevator #3.
  24. Load luggage into the elevator #3. (“I said, ‘Stop pushing the buttons’!”)
  25. Unload elevator #3 (“Honey, are you wearing deodorant?”)
  26. Drag luggage to SFO people mover (Do we have the Xmas spirit yet?)
  27. Wait for doors.
  28. Drag luggage into SFO people mover.
  29. Unload luggage from SFO people mover.
  30. Drag luggage to elevator #4.
  31. Wait for elevator #4.
  32. Load luggage into the elevator #4. (“I said, ‘Stop pushing the buttons’!”)
  33. Unload elevator #4

Update: This is what “stupid” looks like on a map:

View Larger Map

Be sure to thank Quentin Kopp and Mike Nevin the people responsible for the mess.

Any questions?

Posted in 2006-06-06-measure-a, bart-to-san-jose, entertainment, political, transportation.

3 Responses

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  1. Jason says

    Interesting. I hadn’t considered those particular issues from where I sit.

    In contrast, from Oakland, it’s a LOT easier than it used to be to get to SFO. It takes exactly one step. Get on BART, and 52 minutes later you’re at the airport. Sure, it takes a while, but it’s ridiculously convenient.

    (In fact, now it’s easier to get to SFO from downtown Oakland than it is to get to OAK!)

    Previous alternatives were these:

    (AC transit to Transbay Terminal OR BART to Daly City or Colma) AND transfer to SamTrans
    – or –
    having to get someone to drive all the way to SFO and back
    – or – (for people with cars)
    insane parking fees at SFO

    So it depends on where you’re coming from….

  2. Rick says


    Really interesting idea. This is going to be fun to watch!

    1. Expensive tunnel but a good idea
    2. Isn’t there a built but abandoned bart tunnel under the sfo circular garage?
    3. Go easy on Quentin, he pulled off a miracle

    Keep up the hard work,


Continuing the Discussion

  1. Just wondering…. » Blog Archive » California High-Speed Rail go direct to SFO linked to this post on December 3, 2008

    […] The Baby Bullet trains would now also be a Airport Express train for people coming from the South Bay/Peninsula. (instead of the 33-step Millbrae disaster) […]

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