If you've ever boarded BART's pre-dawn stockbroker train and mixed among the slumbering financial titans, you may have overheard something curious. The driver announces East Bay stops -- MacArthur, West Oakland, etc. -- in barely a whisper. But, come Embarcadero, he or she will shout "EMBARCADERO! EVERYONE GET UP AND GO TO WORK."
Invariably, they do.
Those riding on less homogeneous trains, however, stand a risk of dozing off and ending up at the terminus station. For many of us, even those who have lived decades in the Bay Area, this may be your only experience with the towns of Pittsburg, Fremont, Millbrae, Pleasanton, or Richmond. Anecdotally, a goodly chunk of riders end up in these places only via overlong naps. We called BART to see if they keep any sort of tally.
Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that -- not surprisingly -- BART does not have a ready figure of how many passengers unintentionally ride the system to its terminus stations. During regular hours, she notes, these people will simply curse their fate and board the next train back to their intended destination.
For those who end up at the end of the line on the final train of the night -- and your humble narrator has done so at SFO, and picked up unlucky friends at Pittsburg -- there might be a way to finagle an estimate of daily dozing riders. Trost said she'd check with station managers at the system's outposts and get back to us.
In the meantime, she directed us to a most ingenious Android app, which will sound an alarm when one arrives at his or her preferred stop (and here's TransitGuru, another alarm app we found independently). BART's open data plan allows the necessary synching of arrival and departure times to enable such a creation. It sounds like a boon for any rider who's awoken with a start and bolted off the train sans a piece of personal property (guilty as charged).