BART airport shuttle glides into service

Travelers can say goodbye to the AirBART bus service to the Oakland International Airport starting Saturday morning.

A celebration took place Friday at BART’s Coliseum Station to mark the opening of the transit agency’s new train service to the Oakland International Airport.

Photos by Jerold Chinn/SFBay

BART’s General Manager Grace Crunican said that East Bay residents now can enjoy same service SFO BART riders have:

“The Oakland International Airport dons a very elite group of airports that have a plane to train connections. This 3.1 mile extension for BART means that East Bay residents will finally enjoy the same safe, reliable, convenient rail service that SFO enjoys today.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was also on hand for the community public celebration. Lee said:

“This extension now will provide convenient and speedy access to East Bay’s regional airport without cars. Meaning no more missed flights because of bad traffic. I know what that’s like.”

BART board director Robert Raburn said that the project provided jobs for local residents:

“I was adamant that the terms of the local hire agreement were be strictly followed. I also wanted to make sure that the money we poured into this project to boost our economy not some other regions. As a result of the agreement not only met project hiring goals, it exceeded them.”

Raburn said 70 percent of the hours worked on the project was by Bay Area residents, 20 percent more than what the goals had called for.

State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner said the opening of the project — which cost $484 million in local, state an d federal funds — would silence many critics:

“Now that it’s open. Now that people will use it. You will not hear that naysayer.”

The cost to ride the new train service will depend on which BART station riders depart from. A one-way trip from downtown San Francisco the OAK will cost around $10.05. Riders departing from Oakland BART stations will pay about $7.85.

Riders will be able to remain on the Coliseum station platform and head to a set of escalators to the new airport train service. From there, riders will need to tag their Clipper Card again before entering the platform to catch the new train service.

Train service on Saturday starts at 6 a.m. and will run every five minutes between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. in time for Thanksgiving travelers leaving this weekend. Weekday service begins at 5 a.m. while service on Sundays and holidays will start at 8 a.m. (Click here for the full schedule)

The quiet ride to the airport on the train, which runs about 30 miles per hour on a cable-propelled system, takes about eight minutes. The train makes a stop near the midway point to switch cables.

Angelita Finlayson of San Leandro, who took advantage of the free rides Friday, said she would advocate for everyone to take the train service to the airport:

“I think it’s wonderful and outstanding. I think it’s very progressive for Oakland and I am very proud.”