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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART, Metra outline reopening plans

Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco will be following a 15-step reopening plan.
Photo – BART Facebook


Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Metra this week released plans to welcome back more riders as their coronavirus restrictions are lifted in their regions. 

BART in San Francisco will implement a 15-step plan, which calls for enhanced cleaning and disinfection routines; running longer trains to allow social distancing among riders; increased train frequencies and requiring face coverings on trains.

BART Police will enforce face-covering requirements and conduct more frequent checks on whether riders have paid fares to ride the trains, agency officials said in a press release. 

The plan also includes a commitment to accelerating infrastructure projects and testing new technologies and best practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they said.

To read more about how BART has responded to the pandemic, click here.

In Chicago, Metra plans to step up cleaning and disinfection of rail cars and stations, and add more trains to allow for social distancing between riders. 

Metra will make an effort to run trains that are no more than half full, with one passenger per row on the lower level and one passenger per every other seat on the upper level, Metra officials said in a press release.

If Metra officials believe a train might become more crowded, the agency will try to operate an unscheduled train behind that one to serve more passengers. Or, the agency will add more scheduled trains to the line, Metra officials said.

Meanwhile, other passenger-rail agencies are resuming some regular service. Following are the latest updates by agency or railroad:

  • On June 1, Amtrak will partially restore its Pacific Surfliner service to San Luis Obispo, California, with one train in each direction. An additional train will also run from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara/Goleta. 
  • Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Texas on June 1 will resume fare collections.

In New Mexico, however, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District has extended suspension of its New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter-rail service until future notice.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation yesterday announced it will send 4.8 million cloth facial coverings to passenger-rail and mass transit agencies over the coming weeks. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/29/2020