Tomorrow: BART board considers “world-class transit” – what should that mean?

Tomorrow at its its annual board retreat, at a working lunch session, the BART board will discuss how to achieve a vision of “world-class transit.”   

A set of Bay Area transit advocacy groups including San Francisco Transit Riders, Seamless Bay Area, and Friends of Caltrain urged the BART board to consider “world-class transit” from a transit user’s perspective – including journeys that are seamless from the customer’s perspective.

We believe for a system to be truly world class, it must be considered from a rider-first perspective, designed and operated to meet the needs of current riders as well as those of a growing and changing ridership… Overall trip time, access, safety, comfort, transfer experience, social environment, etc. should be considered from metrics that represent riders, such as customer sentiment and satisfaction.

A key aspect of customer experience is that the journey usually includes multiple modes – walking, bicycling, driving/parking; and multiple transit services. A world-class transit system would assess customer experience from end to end, not just from stop to stop on one service. We encourage BART to actively participate in and help lead regional efforts to improve customer experience for trips crossing agencies and modes, including fares, schedules, and wayfinding.

Seamless BART-Caltrain regional rail rides

As recently tweeted by Christof Spieler, author of the excellent book Trains, Buses People, this world-class experience ought to include treating BART and electric Caltrain as a single system.

“why we should talk about transit networks in terms of the service they provide, not the technology they use (and why @SFBART and future@Caltrain are really the same thing and we should present them to riders that way.)”

What do you think?

For the board’s discussion – what do you think “world-class transit” should mean for BART? Share your thoughts with the BART board by emailing and feel free to copy us at

If you can make lunchtime in San Francisco, please stop by the Port Commission Hearing Room, 1 Ferry Building to make public comment in person. Update: the working lunch session is scheduled for Noon.