On February 25, BART released the preliminary results of their Spring 2015 station profile survey. Here’s a quick look at the numbers, which are shedding a favorable light on bikes.
Overall, BART ridership is up since 2008: BART estimates a 19% increase of the average weekday ridership or over 69,300 trips a day. The bicycle modeshare to and from BART is also up, possibly a result of fewer restrictions on bicycles onboard during commute hours since the BART blackout was lifted and increased bicycle parking.
The first electronic bike lockers started appearing at BART stations in 2008, the same year the previous survey was done. In 2012, BART doubled the amount of secure bike parking, installing 336 new electronic bike lockers at 19 stations. In addition to bike lockers, BART has been invested in larger scale bike garages like the downtown Berkeley bike station (opened in 2010), followed by the Fruitvale Bike Station and in 2014 the 19th Street Bike Station.
In 2011, BART established a Bicycle Task Force charged with reviewing and working with BART to improve bicycle access to and on BART. The task force still meets regularly the first Monday of every other month. Significant effort was also put into the creation of an ambitious BART Bicycle Plan, championed by Steve Beroldo. The plan states one simple goal: “to double the share of BART passengers systemwide who access stations by bicycle by 2022.”
With increased parking capacity and improved access comes increased ridership. From 2008 to 2015, the number of people biking to stations grew faster than all other modes – increasing by 50% in 7 years.
Not only that, but 9 of the top 10 stations for bike mode share are in Alameda County! Way to bike to BART, East Bay commuters.
That means our work is done, right? Not so fast – the median distance between BART and home for most people is under 3 miles – easily a 20 minute or less bike ride. And yet almost 50% of ridership either drives to BART or is in the Drop off/taxi/other category.
Bike East Bay has a number of campaigns focused on improving access to BART. Our work getting funding for Safe Routes to Transit, for example, is building more walkable and bikeable streets in Oakland, Concord, Richmond and El Cerrito.
Plans for an expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share in Fall 2016 will also likely have a significant impact on ridership. Bike share programs, often touted as key “last mile” connectors, could encourage more commuters to ride to or from BART without having to worry about theft or parking. If the program is a success, we can see BART reaching their bicycle ridership goal way ahead of schedule.