VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension Program (BSV) will expand BART service into Santa Clara County, bringing frequent and reliable regional rail service to over 1.7 million county residents. The project is being built in two phases.
More than a transit project, BSV is an entire program of improvements that will transform Silicon Valley. Facets of the project include transit oriented communities, multimodal transportation connectivity, as well as roadway, utility and environmental improvements.
When the BART District was formed in the 1960s, Santa Clara County opted out. Faced with growing congestion along the I-880 corridor, a Major Investment Study was conducted in 2001 which identified the need for transit alternatives and laid the groundwork to start the environmental process for the BART Silicon Valley Extension Program.
The original project would have extended service in one 16 mile extension from South Fremont to Santa Clara. The VTA Board committed to building the project in two phases in February 2009, with Phase I carrying passengers to Berryessa/North San José and Phase II serving downtown San José to Santa Clara.
Phase II has completed the environmental process and is currently in the design and engineering process.
It takes about 59 minutes from Milpitas and 63 minutes from Berryessa/North San José to travel to San Franciscos Embarcadero BART Station.
BART’s Excursion Fare is $6.20 (for a Clipper Card) or $6.70 (regular adult paper ticket). It allows anyone to tour the BART system for up to three hours if you enter and exit at the same station. If you want to exit shortly after you enter, you must see an Station Agent to avoid the excursion fare.
Clipper is now the only fare product available to purchase fares systemwide. There is a $3 acquisition fee to purchase card. Clipper is the Bay Area’s all-in-one transit card administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Clipper is reusable, reloadable, and regionally accepted on other transit systems. Clipper is now also available on Apple iOS (iPhone, Apple Watch) and Android devices.
And that could make the seemingly never-ending Van Ness construction project look like an afternoon matinee. The VTA and FTA are trying to weigh trade-offs between spending and construction hassle. The BART extension needs those federal dollars, bur San Jose may suffer huge financial losses just by having the town torn up for a longer period.
How long might all that take? Try 2034 for size. The Bay Area News Group has obtained an internal Federal Transit Administration memo that indicates the San Jose BART extension won’t be completed until 2034, and on top of that, per the news group “the project could rise to $9.1 billion — $4.4 billion over the VTA’s initial cost estimate.”
Now that the feds’ report is public, the VTA is pushing back hard. “We studied the risk report 10 times to Sunday,” VTA’s BART Program Chief Takis Salpeas told the news group. “It’s not an engineering study, and it’s not a construction cost estimate. It’s a probabilistic ‘what if’ assessment.”
What’s fundamentally at issue here is whether to proceed with tunnel construction methods called “single bore” or “twin bore” which all sounds (haha) boring, but essentially will determine how badly torn up the streets of San Jose will be during the underground construction, and how long that nightmare will last. The Bay Area News Group describes the proposed project as “one of the world’s largest underground subway tunnels — 48 feet wide, the width of a basketball court, through a 4.7-mile stretch of San Jose.”
The “VTA” refers to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and so here we have a VTA vs FTA (Federal Transit Administration) skirmish. And to be fair, as seen on the map segment below where the new BART lines are presented as little gray rectangles, this is not just a one-station extension, its four. It would go to 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San Jose, and then onward to Diridon Station, and then from there to Santa Clara.
How close does BART get to San Jose?
Does BART run from San Jose to San Francisco?
Does BART connect to San Jose airport?
For decades, people have been asking: “Can you take BART from San Jose to San Francisco?” but it’s not entirely possible yet. Currently, BART runs on the east side of the San Francisco Bay between Oakland and Milipitas. It may take another 10 years for it to reach downtown San Jose.