SFO To Offer Priority Security To Public Transit Riders

by Chris Dong

San Francisco’s BART train has seen a steady decline in public transit ridership to and from SFO in recent years. The reason? Passengers flocking to Uber and Lyft. That means overcrowded terminals with rideshare passengers either scrambling to find their vehicles or getting dropped off en masse from the city.

While New York City is raising the overall cost of public transit to the airport, San Francisco is taking a slightly different approach to try and stimulate revenue. BART’s Board of Directors has approved a plan to provide priority security screening to anyone who takes public transit to San Francisco International. 

BART station at SFO

BART station at SFO

The first step is for BART to create an app with trip verification technology, basically to see if that passenger qualifies for priority security.

BART ridership to and from SFO has dropped about 10% in the past couple of years, which equates to about $4 million in lost revenue. The homeless are taking BART to SFO, however.

It will be interesting to see exactly what kind of priority security that BART and SFO will come up with. How will this compete with airline’s own priority lines for elites and premium cabin passengers? What about the line for both TSA PreCheck and for CLEAR?

There may come a point when almost everyone qualifies for priority security, which you know, would kind of make priority security a little bit useless.

Still, this move will perhaps move the needle slightly for BART. Critics think more has to be done — including better wayfinding at the airport, BART stops at every terminal (instead of just one), and eliminating the SFO BART fee.




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derek October 26, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Crazy. Want more people to ride BART? Then make it the same fare as Millbrae, which is one stop farther from San Francisco than the airport. BART charges nearly $10 to get to the airport from San Francisco. Two people traveling is almost $20 then add MUNI’s (local bus in San Francisco) fare and Uber’s convenience of a car is attractive.

Even if BART is evil and keeps the price higher than Millbrae but maybe only $1-2 higher, more riders will use it.

Greg October 26, 2019 - 3:13 pm

From SF…30 minutes on the train, plus getting to and from, and up to 15-20 minutes between trains – so 45 minutes average, more like an hour plus often

On a really bad day a hired car will take 45 minutes door to door and costs $35 plus tip vs $20 for the train

Compare to NYC where train is about an hour, the ride in a car can be as bad as 1:30, and it costs $15 all in vs a $80 car ride thanks to tolls and traffic

No tolls to deal with SF to SFO and once you get on the freeway traffic is decent leaving the city until you get past the airport

It’s just not as painful to ride in a car to the airport

Boraxo October 26, 2019 - 3:24 pm

This is idiotic as they will still be standing in lines because they don’t have precheck and clear. I can’t see a single person saying yes I will waste 2 hours and take Bart to the airport when I could take uber in 30 minutes.

Chris@oak October 27, 2019 - 12:29 am

The real reasons BART Ridership is down:
Street people/homeless use BART as their home and toilet. Feces and urine on the seats and floors.
They are fare evaders that beg for money. Rampant drug use; and discarded needles left in seat cushions.
Seats are filthy. Cars smell.

Then there’s the high rate of crime: lots; stations and on cars. Theft of purses, phones and luggage by people that BART officials refuse to ID due to ethnic sensitivity.

Please look up Alameda Grand Judy 2018-2019 report on BART.


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