Bay Area Rapid Transit
by Benjamin Costello
This paper is to focus on how the Bay Area Rapid Transit System or BART has affected the way of life in Oakland and the greater East Bay area throughout its construction and service of the area. BART first started running on September 11, 1972 but the idea for BART first began in the 1940's in post war America. The Army corps of Engineers wanted to supplement traffic flows on the Bay Bridge as the number of cars on the road increased by building a tube under the bay between Oakland and San Francisco.
The previous transit system that was in place was a conglomerate of trolley lines that existed throughout San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose areas which serviced riders until it was taken over by the Bay Area Transit District new system. This group of trolley systems were called the Key system which existed in the area since the early nineteenth century.
The six county system included: San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Marin County, the original five counties that were supposed to have BART connect them. In 1957, Santa Clara County opted out of the proposed plan to instead focus on building freeways and high ways. Marin county would be the next to leave the planned system, as the connection to Marin county underneath the Golden Gate bridge was a nearly impossible and incredibly expensive feat. San Mateo county opted out for tax reasons.
The city of Oakland became the headquarters for Bay Area Rapid Transit, where it continues to reside today. The importance of BART in Oakland is Great, people for all walks of life who are commuting to either go to work, school, or on leisure activities all use BART at one leg of their journey or another. BART is an economical sustainability factor in the lives of many hundreds of thousands of commuters that travel to and from the Oakland region and it continues to shape their lives even today. Most recently the BART strikes in 2013 have had profound negative effects on the economic lives of the people who use the system and live and work around the access points of the system.
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