New Gadget Helps BART Passengers Decide if the Train Is Just Too Damn Crowded to Ride

Categories: BART

Thumbnail image for Crowded BART.jpg
We'd give this train ride two heads
Last week, we ticked off all the reasons people riding BART hate you -- and all the reasons you hate them, too. Well, now here is your opportunity to avoid all those nail-clipping, nose-picking, line-cutting seat hogs.

BART has launched a handy new gadget that will give riders a snapshot of crowding levels on BART trains, with a quick tap of their smartphone.

The beta version of the crowding feature (it only estimates crowds, people) was announced yesterday, just as Bay Area commuters packed into the trains for another hot and sweaty ride home.

It doesn't require a whole lot of work on your part: When you use the BART QuickPlanner, your trip plan will show one of the following icons, indicating the crowd levels on the trains: three heads (heavy crowds), two heads (moderate crowds) or one head (light crowds).

See Also: This is Why Everyone on BART Hates You.

The new feature was engineered in response to BART's record ridership levels over the last year; BART officials want to give riders another tool to find a train with more space (or just say screw it and drive).

BART staff is relying on historic data to determine how crowded the trains are, so you're not going to get real-time information, and thus probably not always a 100 percent accurate head count. "Although the data is not real time, the historic data we're using is generally predictive," said Timothy Moore, BART website manager.

BART officials think this new tool will work well with cyclists, who are often the target of dirty looks on overly crowded trains.

"On the trains marked 'heavy crowding expected,' it may not be possible to bring a bike on board," said Steve Beroldo, BART's bicycle program manager. "It will be a much better option to choose a train with the 'light crowding expected' icon."

In any event, if you can't adjust your schedule to travel on the lightly crowded trains, then the least you could do it put on some deodorant for the rest of us.

My Voice Nation Help

Interesting concept! The new trains can incorporate an estimation of crowds by the load weight in the vehicle. The cars are capable of load weight estimations. This can be used to light an external visual indicator on the train indicating this car is full. Many times we run to a car that has room. If there was an external indicator, it would make this determination a lot easier. In addition, the app can have an indication of the consist(group of trains) and indicate how many of the cars are full. To take it further, lights on the platform will light indicating the car that has available room.


@newlyweds82 Doesn't BART already tell riders to "Board Center" on the arrival screens? Maybe a simple "Board Front" or "Board Back" would be good and enough, not to mention how little money and modification it would require. 


The designation signs state "Board Center" when it is a small consist of 6 cars. Otherwise, it just states how many cars. Unusual to find someone interested in saving BART money. It makes sense, as along as the cost isn't passed on to us riders. For what we are paying to ride, BART should be the most sophicasted system in the US. Lets see what the future stations and new cars will do to faciltate getting around in the system. BART is a joke. Have you heard the annoucements at the station that a train is arriving on platform 1. Look around you don't see see platform 1 unless you go to either end of the platform and see in small letter under the designation signs "PLATFORM 1". Other than this there is no other way to know which platform your on, if you never taken BART. Here's another one, the Hayward sation has the stairs and escallators backwards. The stairs are toward the front of the train and the escallators are toward the back. Bikes are expected to use the cars in the rear yet carry them up the stairs. So, what happens the Bikers take a nice walk along the platform to get to the rear. BART has to do better! I can go on witht their lack of policing on the trains to enforce policy. I remember the new Police Chief rode the train on his first day of the job. He was suppose to patrol that train. Something BART police rarely do.

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