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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge We'd give this train ride two heads
  • 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.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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