Simply Hilarious (and Infuriating): BART Imaginings, 1957

  |   History, Mass Transit   |   4 Comments

BART plans, 1957

That’s right, the original plans recommended “first stage” service past Palo Alto to the south, and across the Bay to San Rafael to the north! I wonder how many stages ago that was?

Maybe they should have drafted up some counterfeit money with which to pay for this pipe dream. (Even a tiny fraction of this fantastical scheme is itself worth much higher fares year after year, it seems.)


  • Steve | Nov 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    A couple of things torpedoed the northernmost and southernmost areas of the initial plan. First, Santa Clara County was mad that the initial stage would only go as far as Palo Alto, and voted to back out of BART and fund the Expressway system. Then San Mateo county figured that they would be funding a system that would be mainly used by Santa Clara County residents and would duplicate the Southern Pacific Rail (now CalTrain) service, so they backed out.

    As for the Marin County, once the two southern counties backed out, they couldn’t afford to make up their increased share (Marin had a tiny tax base at the time) and the idea of adding BART rails to the Golden Gate Bridge didn’t seem feasible.

  • troymccluresf | Nov 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm


  • Adam | Nov 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    What Steve said. There was fear at the time that the pullouts started by Santa Clara were going to torpedo the whole system.

    In fact, there’s been bad blood between Santa Clara and BART ever since. When they were talking about extending BART to the south bay in the late 90s/early 2000s, there was a lot of political resistance based on this bad blood.

    It’s a bummer, given that BART actually operates on a real full-day timetable. Caltrain has certainly improved, but it’s still not something where you can just walk into a station and expect to catch a train without waiting for almost an hour.

  • 1962: SAVE the BAY AREA from CHOKING to DEATH (with BART)! « Spots Unknown San Francisco | Nov 10, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    […] own website, after telling about the retreat of Marin and San Mateo counties from the plan, puts it like this: The total cost of the system, as of 1962, was projected at $996 […]