ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit): A Rider's Guide

Updated on March 27, 2016

Dear East Bay Transplants,

Welcome to your new home! I'm sure you're bringing a wealth of experience and unique knowledge that will enhance our already highly educated populace. Famous for our mild weather, liberal ideals, "winningest" NBA team, and abundant fresh and natural food, thousands aspire to live here, and you've made it. Time to celebrate!

Feeling good?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, dear reader, but I feel it's my duty to inform you of the necessary evil you will soon encounter. This bacteria-filled behemoth will frustrate you. It may even make you sick. And, in rare instances, you might be killed whilst riding. Ladies and gentlemen, time to strap in (oh wait, there are no seat belts!) and get comfortable. Meet BART.


Born in 1972, Bay Area Rapid Transit, aka BART, shuttles nearly 500,000 people across 107 miles of track each day. Like me, most riders have a love-hate relationship with the thing, evidenced by the sighs of annoyance emitted each time the train inexplicably stops mid-ride (OFTEN). The most common causes for delay seem to be "medical" emergencies (aka suicide attempts), police activity, stopped trains, and "equipment problems".

It can be incredibly frustrating to be waylaid by BART delays, especially when you're already running late (like I often am). While you will never win the war, below are some tips to help you win a few battles.


Do you ride BART?

See results

Rule #1: Abstain from Perfume/Cologne

I know you love the cologne you purchased. Combined with your very unique pheromones and body chemistry, it smells amazing on you. However, would you like to be trapped in a crowded car, suffocating beneath a cloud of someone else's perfume? I've been there, and trust me, you don't want to be. Nausea often ensues, and I'm forced to breathe through my mouth. So, follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (and don't wear your perfume!). Bring a travel size bottle and spritz a bit on that lovely frame while you walk to your final destination.


Rule #2: Leave Early

I'm a regular rider and average 10 BART trips per week. Trust me when I say - nay, implore you to - leave early. At least four of my 10 weekly rides are delayed in some way. This is NOT an exaggeration - the images below were snapped just hours apart.

If you are relying on BART to get you to your destination on time, don't. Give yourself a buffer of 30 minutes or more, and be sure to check BART's website,, before you depart.

Rule #3: Bring Small Bills

(Or simply, bring cash.)

You will, dear rider, one day need to add "exit fare" to your ticket. This occurs when the initial deposit on your ticket is not sufficient for your destination. Exit fare can only be paid in cash. While an understanding BART agent may take pity on you and let you leave through the emergency gate, I wouldn't count on it. Bring a few bucks to feed the exit fare machine in case you're a bit short on the way out.


Rule #4: Remove Your Backpack

Nearly every BART train has a sign advising riders to remove their backpack in crowded cars. Though not as packed as Tokyo's trains, BART trains get crowded during commute hours. They can also fill up with passengers heading to and from Warriors', Giants', and A's games. Removing your backpack will not only give your back a rest, it'll make for a more comfortable ride for everyone around you.

Bonus Rule: Give Up Your Seat

Always give up or offer your seat to those who may need it: elderly riders, the disabled, and pregnant women. Not only is it the right thing to do, it's the law.


Rule #5: Wear Your Headphones

Don't like hearing the conversations of others? Want to catch up on the latest Game of Thrones episode? Whatever your thing, it behooves you to bring headphones. Even if you have nothing to listen to or watch, headphones can provide a sometimes necessary defense against especially persistent postulant paramours. They can also be a sonic savior from the reprehensible ruffians who insist on blasting bombastic beats from their smart phones. No one wants to hear your music, man.

Rule #6: Step Off

Another crowded train tip: If you are near the door, deboard when the train stops. You can stand almost flush with the side of the train so those waiting to board know you are hopping back on. Stepping off is exceedingly courteous to those who need to deboard. No need to do this if the train is relatively empty, though.

Rule #7: Be Ready to Deboard

Similarly, being ready to get off is being considerate to the person sitting beside you if you're in an interior (window) seat. You can either directly tell them that the next stop is yours, conspicuously gather your belongings, or stand as you approach your stop.


  • Don't wear perfume or cologne - apply it after you deboard
  • Give yourself extra time - BART is plagued by daily delays
  • Bring cash for exit fare
  • Take off your backpack when the train is crowded
  • Bring headphones if you want to listen to music - spare your neighbor's ears
  • Deboard to let others off the train when it's crowded
  • Let your seatmate know you're ready to get off

And ask me if you have any questions!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)