South BayTransit

After nearly 50 years, BART arrives in San José the long, slow way

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The brand-new Berryessa and Milpitas stations opened to the public Saturday when the first train departed from the Berryessa station at 7:56 a.m. on the Richmond line.

BART officials worked to bring the transit system into San José for decades. After Santa Clara county voters rejected inclusion in the original BART plan in the late 1950s, efforts to extend the system culminated in the passage of 2000’s Measure A and, subsequently, a pair of local sales tax measures to fund the 10-mile, $2.3 billion extension.

Jim Maurer/Flickr A BART train rolls through the platform at Berryessa-North San José station on its first day of public operation on Saturday, June 13, 2020.

On Friday, more than a dozen elected officials in the South Bay participated in the maiden voyage Friday between BART’s two new stations in Milpitas and northern San José’s Berryessa neighborhood.

A group including San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez and BART Board President Lateefah Simon began the festivities at the Berryessa Transit Center with celebratory remarks and a ribbon-cutting before boarding the first BART train to carry passengers from the station.

The group then met with a second group of officials including former Rep. Mike Honda, Milpitas Mayor Richard Tran and Federal Transit Administration Region 9 Administrator Ray Tellis for another ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Milpitas station.

Liccardo said:

“BART’s arrival in San José marks the most impactful transit expansion in our region in decades, connecting the Bay Area’s largest city with its largest transit system. … I’ve been pushing for 20 years to bring BART here, and its arrival provides all of us a refreshing moment to cheer amid these uniquely challenging times.”

The completion of the extension gives BART a total of 50 stations and roughly 130 miles of track around the Bay Area.

Chavez said:

“I never imagined BART would play such a big part in my life for so many years. … BART coming to Silicon Valley all comes down to hope and optimism for the future. We are now fully connected across the Bay Area and the region is now connected to us.”

Jim Maurer/Flickr Customers stream through fare gates at Berryessa-North San José station on its first day of public operation on Saturday, June 13, 2020.

The Berryessa project is the first phase of BART and VTA’s effort to extend BART service into San José and Santa Clara.

The second phase, totaling about 6 miles, is expected to include the construction of subterranean stations at 28th Street in San José’s Little Portugal, in downtown San José near the intersection of Santa Clara and Market streets, the San José Diridon rail depot and a ground-level station just north of Avaya Stadium in Santa Clara.

The $5.6 billion second phase is expected to break ground in 2022, with an estimated completion date around 2030. VTA officials changed both of those estimates last year, increasing the price tag by nearly $1 billion and pushing the opening back roughly four years.

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