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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART puts technology in riders' Palms

The transit system that carries passengers in and around California’s Silicon Valley recently upped its own technological offerings. Bay Area Rapid Transit June 11 launched a redesigned Web site with a number of new features and enhancements.

"The new BART Web site is an important part of our ongoing customer focus initiative," said BART General Manager Thomas Margro in a prepared statement. "The entire site has been retooled to provide easier access to popular information and services."

Basic rider information now is offered in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and, with proper plugins, Japanese, and both classical and modern Chinese.

The redesigned home page also includes up-to-date content and five new sections including "Stations and Schedules," "Tickets," "Rider Guide," "News," and "About BART."

The previous site’s most frequently used feature was trip planning; the enhanced version is likely to get even more attention. "BART Quick Scheduler" is part of the home page to enable faster access to information passengers need most often. An "Expanded Trip Planner" provides more detailed trip planning, including station area maps and MapQuest® driving instructions.

But in today’s fast-paced world, people often don’t have time to sit down at their computers between appointments and errands to retrieve travel updates. For those riders, BART introduced QuickPlanner for Palm OS handheld devices.

Such a user would go to BART’s site and download the planner software. Once there, passengers would be able to store preferred trips or routes, access a complete BART system map, and find detailed information — such as station address and cross streets, fares, station, train and transfer details. And he or she would be advised of updates by email.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/13/2001