You are here

September 28, 2021

What to Expect Traveling on BART Across San Francisco

Now that San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area are reopened, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is welcoming visitors back and ensuring that the safety and health of riders is the top priority. To reassure everyone that service is as safe as possible, BART has implemented a rigorous safety plan. Here is what you can expect when you use BART to travel across San Francisco and the region.


BART is using hospital-grade disinfectants in stations and onboard trains. Train poles are wiped down with disinfectant at the end of the line during service hours. Crews use electrostatic foggers on train cars that spray disinfecting mist that coats and clings to surfaces every 24 hours. Station touch-points are wiped down multiple times each day.

Running Longer Trains

BART is committed to running service that allows for social distancing. Longer trains will run all day to enable riders to spread out. BART has determined riders can maintain social distancing of six feet onboard train cars with no more than 30 people per car. Social distancing of three feet can be achieved with no more than 60 people per car.

Increasing Train Frequency

BART is currently running service every 30 minutes on weekdays. Additional trains will be added during commuting hours once data shows that train cars consistently have more than 30 people on board. As businesses allow for staggered shifts, BART will extend its hours. Riders should expect a 9 p.m. closure for the time being.

Pilot New Seat Configuration

BART’s Fleet of the Future provides for modular seating. BART will pilot a new configuration of seats that could potentially help create space between riders.

Riders are Required to Wear Face Masks at All Times

BART will continue to require face coverings at all times for all riders ages 13 and older. Consistent with prior health orders, children aged 12 or younger are not required to wear a face-covering, and children aged two or younger should not wear one because of the risk of suffocation. Even if local counties ease the face-covering mandate, BART plans to keep it. Currently, Downtown San Francisco station agent booths have extra masks for those who need one. BART is also supplying officers with additional masks to hand out if necessary.

Expansion of Police Enforcement

To ensure that riders are following the rules, BART Police will enforce the face-covering requirement and be positioned at fixed posts near the fare gates at many stations. Police personnel will conduct more frequent fare checks to increase staff presence onboard trains and inside stations.

Visual Indicators Will Keep Riders Informed

Large decals, posters, and banners are being printed and will soon be displayed throughout the BART system and onboard trains to reinforce social distancing expectations and the face-covering requirement. While BART does not plan to use standing markers on platforms and trains, there will be plenty of signage on platforms, and onboard trains and overhead announcements reminding riders of social distance and spread out.

Hand Sanitizer Will be Available

BART will continue to offer hand sanitizer at every station. There will be large signs, making dispensers are easy to find.

Contactless Payment

Clipper Card allows for contactless payment. Riders are encouraged to get a Clipper Card and load funds online in advance or get auto-load. This will reduce lines at the ticket vending machines and reduce customer touch-points. BART will speed up efforts to eliminate the sale of paper tickets and go Clipper-only at stations systemwide in the coming months. BART has also expanded the official BART app parking payment feature to all stations.

Personal Hand Straps

BART will offer personal hand straps for riders to use and take home for cleaning after each trip. A limited supply will be handed out as a surprise giveaway inside some stations to welcome passengers back. The hand straps are available for purchase for $5 plus tax by phone order by calling 510-464-7136, in person at the Customer Service window at Lake Merritt Station (Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.–4:45 p.m.) and through a soon-to-be-launched online store.

Data Transparency

BART will continue to post daily ridership numbers at, showing the percentage of ridership compared to pre-COVID-19 patronage. During the first part of recovery, this will help reassure riders there is no crowding. BART will also share train car loading data based on the number of passengers on a specific train and how, on average, those riders can spread out among the cars. This information is not available in real-time, but will be communicated with frequency on the BART website and social media accounts.BART will offer this information in an easy to read format to help riders make informed decisions about what time of the day they want to ride.

New Technologies and Industry Best Practices

BART will continue to explore new technologies used by transit systems across the world in response to COVID-19. For example, BART is evaluating a variety of modern cleaning procedures such as ultraviolet disinfecting to determine if new methods are safe, won’t cause damage, and are more effective and efficient than current practice. As best practice trends related to safety and customer experience emerge, BART will examine how practical implementation would be for the system.

Healthy Workforce

BART’s greatest asset is our employees, and they must remain healthy to continue to provide service. BART is supplying workers with PPE and supplies and offering COVID-19 testing to employees. Station agents have been advised to stay inside their booth as much as possible to limit exposure. Work areas are being disinfected frequently.

Rebuild Infrastructure

BART is using this time of record low ridership to accelerate infrastructure rebuilding projects facilitated by the extra work hours made available due to earlier closing times. The increased level of work will reduce time on some projects that can be disruptive to passengers. This accelerated work ensures that when riders return to the system, it will be in better shape than when they last used it. 

For more information on BART's 15-point plan to protect rider health and safety while still providing reliable service through San Francisco and across the Bay Area, click here.

You may also like