BART’s Oakland Airport Connector Now in Service

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12.01.14 Planetizen
Depending upon which Bay Area newspaper you read, the new 3.2-mile Oakland Airport connector, an elevated, driverless tram that takes eight minutes and costs $6, is either a huge success or a $484 million boondoggle. It began service on November 22.

“The new tram might be a big improvement from the bus shuttle it replaced, but it still has critics,” writes Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez of the San Francisco Examineron the new airport connector running between the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District’s Oakland Coliseum Station and Oakland Airport.
TransForm, a transportation advocacy group, says the new connector is a boondoggle — too costly with little potential for heavy ridership, and constructed at a time when nearly $5 billion in funding is needed for major systemwide improvements to the BART network.
“This is frankly going to serve 1 percent of the daily ridership,” said Joël Ramos,a community planner with TransForm and also a board member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Projected ridership is 2,745 daily passengers.
As a result of a successful Title VI (civil rights) complaint filed by TransForm and other critics in 2009, the project lost some federal funding, writes Rodriguez.
For a far more flattering review of BART’s nearly half a billion dollar investment (plus $3 million annual operating budget), Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that notwithstanding a rare Bay Area downpour, “nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of its jubilant first-day riders.

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