Bay Area Rapid Transit Highlights

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s an overview of the San Francisco Bay Area’s rapid transit system, called Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).


The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA), which operates the BART and the Municipal Rail System (MUNI), manages all forms of transportation and traffic in the San Francisco area, including streetcars, cable cars, bicycles, pedestrians, taxis and parking.

The BART system serves Alameda County (Oakland), Contra Costa County, San Francisco County, and stations in San Mateo County. An extension of BART, in partnership with the Valley Transportation Authority, is planned to expand into Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County (SVBX).

There are 50 BART stations: 19 surface stations, 15 aerial and 16 subway stations.

In January 2022, there were 817 train cars in the fleet, including old cars and new “Fleet of the Future” cars. BART plans to expand the fleet to 1,200 cars by 2024.

There are approximately 131 miles of BART track.

Average weekday ridership in May 2022 was 135,824, down from a pre-COVID-19 average of 408,723.

BART has its own police force and a security system that includes alarms, CCTV and other intrusion prevention equipment.

All BART frontline employees receive emergency response training.

BART does not operate 24 hours a day.

Crime statistics from 2015 to May 2022


1912 – The San Francisco Municipal Rail System (MUNI) is established. It is one of the oldest public transport systems in the world.

May 24, 1962 – Three northern California counties, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco, are adopting a plan to build a rapid transit (BART) system together. Originally, Marin and San Mateo counties were to be part of the plan, but they backed out.

June 19, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson presides over the dedication ceremony for the 4.4-mile test track between Concord and Walnut Creek.

November 1966-August 1969 – Construction of the Transbay Tube at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. The final cost of the tube is $180 million.

September 11, 1972 – The system is open to the public from Freemont to Oakland.

January 29, 1973 – The second stage of the system opens and extends from Oakland to Richmond.

May 21, 1973 – The Concord line opens.

November 3, 1973 – San Francisco line opens.

1974 – An express bus service is open from Daly City to Belmont.

September 16, 1974 – Transbay Tube opens to the public.

March 10, 1975 – BART and MUNI launch transfer system, halving fares for passengers in BART/MUNI combinations.

May 3, 1983 – AIRPORTER bus service begins shuttles from Embarcadero Station to San Francisco International Airport.

March 21, 1994 – BART’s new operations center opens under the Lake Merritt administration building.

November 1999 – The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is created when MUNI and the Department of Traffic are combined.

June 22, 2003 – BART officially opens a line to San Francisco International Airport.

June 25, 2006 – BART ridership exceeds 100 million – 100,128,800 for the 2006 fiscal year ending June 30.

January 1, 2009 – BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle shoots and kills the unarmed Oscar Grant III on a BART platform at Fruitvale Station in Oakland. Officer Mehserle later resigns and is subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted of manslaughter. Mehserle was released from prison in June 2011.

July 3, 2011 – BART and Oakland Police shoot and kill Charles Blair Hill, armed with a knife, at Oakland Central Station.

August 11, 2011 – BART cuts wireless network service for three hours at several San Francisco stations to prevent coordinated protests of the Hill shooting.

August 15, 2011 – “Flash mobs” shut down several BART stations for more than two hours to protest BART’s shutdown of wireless service.

August 18, 2011 – The BART Police Officers Association website is hacked for the second time by the group Anonymous in retaliation for the August 11 wireless shutdown. The group publishes the personal and personal information of police officers on the Internet.

August 22, 2011 – BART stations close as protesters demonstrate against the shutdown of wireless service.

September 9, 2011 – Arrests are made and the Powell Street BART station closes as protesters attempt to demonstrate.

2012 – BART orders 775 new cars to be built by Bombardier Transit Corporation.

July 1, 2013 – BART unions go on strike. The dispute is over wages and benefits.

July 5, 2013 – Although contract negotiations are not over, unionized BART workers end their strike and return to work.

October 18, 2013 – Unionized BART workers go on strike.

October 19, 2013 – Two BART workers are killed by a train driven by a “trainee operator” during a strike.

October, 21th 2013 – Union leaders and BART management reach an agreement to end a four-day strike.

April 17, 2014 – State regulators OSHA fines BART $210,000 for safety violations that resulted in the deaths of two BART workers in October 2013.

August 28, 2014 – BART launches BART Watch, a mobile application that allows passengers to report crimes and suspicious objects or activities to the BART police.

November 22, 2014 – A monorail connecting the Coliseum station to Oakland International Airport begins operating.

June 24, 2015 – BART police are adopting a new policy for interactions with transgender passengers, according to a statement posted on the BART website. The policy includes guidelines such as “if the gender expression does not clearly indicate the identity of a transgender person, an officer may politely and respectfully ask how the person wishes to be addressed.

March 15, 2016 – The first of 775 new “Fleet of the Future” cars arrives at the BART testing facility. The first of the new fleet will begin months of safety, quality and integration testing before passengers board the new carriage.

January 2018 – The first of the new train cars enters service.

July 2018 – Three unrelated attacks occur in the space of five days at BART stations, killing three.

February 2022 – A report from the Federal Transit Administration indicates that a BART expansion in San Jose will likely be delayed until 2034.

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