SF Bay dreams of 24/7 BART

This past Presidents’ Day weekend, BART travelers’ dreams came true.

In February, when construction shut down westbound traffic on the Bay Bridge, BART ran day and night between San Francisco and the East Bay for the entire weekend.

Oakland North was there to capture the excitement at 3 a.m. when the bars closed and people brought the party onto BART.

The packed trains and good spirits left us wondering why doesn’t BART ever run 24 hours, even on Friday and Saturday nights?

BART runs from 4 a.m. to midnight, which can ruin your plans if you stay out past the witching hour. That four-hour gap can’t be messed with either, according to BART officials:

“That short window of time without service is used for essential nightly track maintenance.  Unlike some public transit systems with multiple sets of tracks on the same routes, BART doesn’t have the duplication that would allow us to run trains on one set while performing maintenance on another.”

So what this means, in money-speak, is that we would need to pay for an entire second set of train tracks for BART to run past midnight. That doesn’t sound like a good deal.

Also, so we don’t have electrocuted maintenance workers, BART has to turn off third-rail power for crews to be able to work on the trains and rail safely. And, to catch everybody up on the basics, the trains can’t run with the power off.

BART does extend service for certain special occasions like New Year’s Eve and some sporting events. They won’t extend it for your best friend Jimmy’s epic costume party, though.

I guess we should be thankful that BART runs on the weekends at all. Until 1978, weekend service wasn’t available at all.

Over thirty years later, we’re left wondering: When we will be allowed to party past midnight?