Life from the lens of BART

Growing up in a suburban area, cars and walking were the only ways to get around. Buses were primarily used for school purposes and subways were usually in the case of modern day railroad.

However, as I grew up and expanded my horizons, I soon came to realize that public transportation has become a more dominant form of transportation over the years.

“Public transportation is often faster, more reliable, safer, and cheaper than driving,” said San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission Community Engagement and Marketing Coordinator Anna Olide.

The little farm town that I grew up in is nothing like the nearby city of San Francisco. I come from a place filled of nothing but agriculture and dozens of cows.

The small town of Escalon that I was born and raised in is about an hour and a half outside of San Francisco, which is not terrible. However, it is nothing like living in sunny Southern California.

The most convenient way of transportation for me to travel to San Francisco is taking a one-hour BART trip from Pleasanton, California to Powell Station in San Francisco.

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All the locations that BART provides service in the Bay Area. Picture provided by Bay Area Rapid Transit 

According to bart.gov, “The BART story began in 1946. It began not by government fiat, but as a concept gradually evolving at informal gatherings of business and civic leaders on both sides of the San Francisco Bay.”

BART has become a convenient outlet to use for public transportation. I took BART on March 9th, starting in Pleasanton to San Francisco and walked in the city as my form of transportation. I took BART into the city and walked four miles to the Golden Gate Bridge and Palace of the Arts.

Taking BART is something that you are able to completely rely on. They are most likely always on time.

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Picture provided by Bay Area Rapid Transit 

“Bart is great for the environment and very dependable,” said Senior Vice President of US Capital Partners Jack Monopoli. “On the negative side though you have to walk quite a bit as the stops for BART in the city are spread out.”

BART is a persistent and familiar way of getting into and out of the city. From sunrise to sunset Bart is filled with tourists, businessmen and women, and citizens of the Bay Area. It is rather a quiet place with the only sound you hear being the squeaky brakes on the train.

It feels as if it is taboo to talk to a stranger with everyone’s forehead lit up from the phone screen or ears vibrating from the sensation of music. During business hours there is not enough room to sit in the cushioned seats so soon enough you will end up having someone’s backpack pressed against your head or someone’s armpit shoved in your face.

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Picture provided by the SFBART Twitter 

“Some of the downfalls of BART is it is crowded during peak hours, which may entail standing for entire 45 minute trip, parking availability and occasional altercations noted by fellow travelers questioning safety,” said University of California San Francisco nursing student Kerri Kavin.

It is a constant on the go feel causing every heart to race not knowing if they will be late to their destination.

Yes this can cause some anxiety to some people who have to rely on someone else rather than themselves to get to a destination, but it also can open up time to get work done.

“It improves the lifestyle by increasing time to rest, be productive or be spontaneous with your time by picking up a new hobby and getting work done,” said Olide.

Due to the rising of gas prices or the high cost of parking fees, it is easier for most to pay a couple bucks and hop on BART and walk to their destinations so they don’t have to worry about making extra time in the day to find parking.

“I choose public transportation for notorious reasons,” said University San Francisco student, Lauren Phillips. “A few being the impracticality of parking, the parking cops with street cleaning signs and limited parking-time spots.”

When I took my trip to San Francisco it was a rainy day, so it did help not having to fight driving on the sleek roads. Also, it was nice being aware of when I would arrive in the city because of the persistency of time BART runs on and strives to fulfill.

“There should be greater use of BART. East Coast cities use it to a greater extent. But things are improving just look at what LA is presently doing. We need more rail like Caltrans,” said San Francisco Government lawyer John Ponnozzo

Yes, I grew up using BART, but did not realize how much I do take it for granted. I could be saving so much time and gas if I did choose to use more public transportation.

But that is the selfish part in me, I do not want to have to wait on someone else to get from point A to point B. That is why most of the time I choose to take my own car because it is handy, but that also causes more complaining when I have to sit in hour long traffic to get to my destination that is 13 miles away.

“In a perfect world I think we would all be riding bicycles or trains to school and work , but this is just impractical when you consider how much more spacious suburbs are to places like San Francisco,” said Phillips.

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