The Case for the BART – Livermore Express Bus Alternative

The Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) is an all volunteer organization dedicated to rebalancing the Bay Area’s transportation network. Our program is based upon the conviction that even a 15% to 25% shift from automotive to nonautomotive means of travel would do wondrous things for the Region.

On a number of occasions BATWG has expressed its support for the BART/Livermore Express Bus Alternative. While it is recognized that there are advantages to extending BART eastward, the fact remains that the very modest resulting increase in BART ridership (11,900 a day) would have no discernible effect on I-580 traffic and come nowhere close to justifying a $1.6 billion capital cost followed by a $22.8 million a year increase in BART’s annual operating costs.   .

Given the current shortage of funds and other BART priorities, a better way of looking at the situation would be to treat the BART extension as a possible future phase and proceed with the Express Bus Alternative using currently available funding.

Following are additional reasons why the Express Bus Alternative makes more sense than a full BART extension does:

According to BART’s March 8, 2018 summary, by 2040 the Express Bus Alternative would add just $3 million a year to BART’s annual O&M costs, versus the full BART alternative’s $22.8 million a year.

As is so often the case on Bay Area transportation projects, the EIR and subsequent studies were based upon inaccurate data. The MTC model upon which the ridership projections are based fails to distinguish between a mundane, meandering bus operation such as Lafta currently provides and the higher quality, more expeditious service needed to adequately access the East Dublin Station. Livermore deserves good connections to BART. This means a comfortable, reliable and speedy ride from various parts of Livermore to the Isabel bus station and then straight down the freeway on HOV lanes to the existing East Dublin BART Station. To avoid getting bogged down in ordinary traffic, buses operating on surface streets should be in bus-only lanes during peak commute periods.

In addition substantial additional parking would need to be provided at Isabel.

With both adequate parking at Isabel and a significantly upgraded bus service, those accessing BART would be assured a quick and comfortable ride to the East Dublin Station.

This article was featured in Newsletter Issue 1. Click here to go back to the newsletter.