On January 19, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rolled out what it is calling its “Fleet of the Future” in a ceremony that drew political leaders, everyday riders and stakeholders who have wanted for years for the system to roll out a more efficient rail cars that will ultimately replace cars that have been in use since the system launched service in the September 1972.
The sleek, energy-efficient rail cars drew rave reviews – they are quieter, cooler, more comfortable, and featuring a colorcoded digital mapping system that informs riders of next stops. The most notable difference is the trainsets feature three doors on each side of the cars, allowing for more seamless one-and-off boarding and allowing the system to increase capacity.
In all, BART spent $2.6 billion to upgrade its aging, 669-car fleet, leveraging $140 million in Proposition 1A funds from the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) to round out its funding package needed to purchase the new fleet. Of the $2.6 billion, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission contributed $1.76 billion in regional funds, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provided $200 million in funding for BART’s “Fleet of the Future.”
The Authority’s $140 million investment in BART’s state-of-the art fleet is part of its Statewide Rail Modernization program that is designed to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure and rail improvement investments throughout the state. The funds will strengthen and improve existing rail networks, while also connecting them with the high-speed rail system. Ultimately, BART is working to extend their service to San Jose’s Diridon Station, allowing for a seamless connection to the high-speed rail system that will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles.