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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

More bay-area commuters turn to BART as gas prices continue to climb


With crude oil prices rising to more than $70 a barrel and gasoline prices skyrocketing above $3 a gallon, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is registering ridership gains.

Between July 2005 and mid-April, ridership has increased 4.1 percent or about 3 million passengers compared with the same FY2005 period. Since fall, the agency has been lengthening trains to accommodate more riders.

A recent study by quality-of-life proponent SustainLane ranked San Francisco No. 3 on a list of cities that would be able to survive economically if oil prices skyrocket. The organization noted mobility as a top factor, and since BART trains are powered by electricity, they could continue running even if oil were in short supply.

The bay area trailed only New York City, where 53 percent of the population takes the subway or bus to work, and Boston, where residents use a large amount of heating oil, according to the study.