BART customers who subscribe to the five major mobile phone companies can now use their mobile phones and wireless hotspot devices to make calls or surf the web as they go under the bay between San Francisco and Oakland. Over the weekend Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS turned on their networks inside the Transbay Tube. In fact, BART passengers now have a continuous wireless access from the West Oakland BART Station all the way to Balboa Park.
"We are pleased to end
2009 by enhancing wireless amenities to our 160,900 customers who ride through
the Transbay Tube each weekday," BART Board President James Fang said. "Underground
wireless service has been expanded to the Transbay Tube thus providing seamless
above and below ground mobile service for BART customers riding between Oakland
and San Francisco. The best news is that the installation and operational costs
are paid by the providers-not by BART. The wireless providers are Sprint/Nextel,
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS."
In 2001, the Board
authorized staff to develop a privately financed underground wireless
telecommunications system to provide cell phone use and Internet access for the
entire BART system. In May 2004, BART was the first public transit agency in
the nation to provide underground access to all wireless companies and their
customers. This access provided mobile service in the downtown San Francisco
stations and tunnels between Embarcadero and Civic Center. In 2005, BART
expanded the service area to 16th, 24th, Glen Park and Balboa Park Stations and
then later to the tunnels that connect those stations.
This additional service
expansion completes 35 percent of the tunnels and eight of the 16 underground
stations. Projected revenue to the District from wireless providers for
underground service for FY-10 is $742,896. Installation and operational costs
are shared between wireless providers, with no cost to the District.
In another story, on January
5, 2010, BART will close the street elevator at Powell Street Station in order
to demolish and replace the structure that houses the elevator entrance on the
street level. BART will shut down the elevator for approximately three and
one-half months during this construction, expecting to finish this work by
April 30, 2010.
This elevator closure is
part of a major project to reconstruct the street elevator enclosures on the
elevators of the BART/Muni Metro Stations at Civic Center, Embarcadero,
Montgomery and Powell. BART is conducting this necessary replacement work to
update the elevator enclosures to current standards, extend the life of the
equipment and improve the reliability of the elevator.