A ribbon-cutting celebration was held today for BART’s newest addition, the BART to Antioch extension.
Elected officials and BART representatives joined hundreds of community members for the ceremony outside of the new Antioch Station, one day before the official start of the clean, modern and fast service, which relies on Diesel Multiple Units, or DMU train cars. After the ceremony, guests were treated to free rides on the new line.
“East County residents now have an environmentally friendly, comfortable and state-of-the-art commute option,” said BART Director Joel Keller, who serves East Contra Costa County and is among the local leaders who were instrumental in getting the extension built. “The BART to Antioch extension will carry as many people as an additional lane of Highway 4 and will reduce vehicle miles traveled by 99 million per year.” The extension is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260,000 pounds a day.
This marks the first time BART is using DMU technology. It meets the U.S. government’s strictest emissions standards and runs on renewable diesel, an advanced biofuel produced from bio-based sources such as vegetable oil. The DMUs run on their own tracks in the median of State Route 4 and connect with the existing BART system at a transfer platform one-third of a mile east of the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station. At the Transfer Platform, riders simply exit one train and walk across the platform to board the other train.
“Today is a great day for commuters in eastern Contra Costa County. Now, they have a choice to zip down Highway 4 moving at speeds up to 75 miles per hour on BART,” BART General Manager Grace Crunican said.
Also appearing at the event were MTC Commissioner and Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover, a longtime major champion of the project, and MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger. MTC provided $271 million in bridge tolls for the project, which amounts to over half the $525 million cost. Thanks to the innovative technology, the extension came in at about half of the $1 billion cost estimated for extending BART’s traditional electric-powered system.
The extension will be able to carry an estimated 2,400 people in each direction, per hour, during rush hours.
Service officially begins Saturday, May 26th with the first train departing Antioch at 5:43am.