It’s impossible to review a subway system as a tourist. To really gauge mass transit, you really need to be a regular user, but during a recent trip to San Fran, we did come away with some impressions about Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
BART is slightly older than Metro, having opened in 1971, it handles about half the number or riders as Metro and has just slightly fewer “route miles,” according to Wikipedia.
One of the most striking things about BART was how much it sounds like Metro. If you had a blindfold on, you’d swear you were in Metro.
Probably the biggest difference between BART and Metro is that for a long stretch through central San Fransisco, all four lines of the system run parallel to one another. As long as you're riding along this stretch--we rode from 16th St. Mission to Embarcadero--the wait for a train is never very long. Rush hour is MUCH less stifling than, say, the Red Menace or Orange Crush. The downside to this is that if you're on the western side of the city, you'd have to travel a ways to get to BART.
@cway1979 shared a few thoughts about their experience on BART, thinking it does a better job of integrating with other transit options in the Bay Area. They added that BART is like Metro's uglier, yet smarter stepsister, the one with '80s bangs, but who aced her ACTs.
That said, here are a few casual observations and impressions about BART vs Metro. It is by no means meant to be definitive.
Why BART is better (not in order)
1. Less crowded
2. Easy ticket machines
3. Better lit
4. Hard floors in cars
5. Bigger seats
6. Indoor bike parking
7. Friendlier riders
8. Cool Retro-futuristic voice over PA system
9. Trains stop in the same place every time
Why BART is the same or worse
1. Graduated fares/exit gates requiring fare cards
2. Only one trunk through the city
3. Not as aesthetically pleasing as Metro
4. Not as clean as Metro
5. Less extensive as Metro
Here's another take.
If you've ridden BART, we'd love to hear your comparisons.
NextBus relaunching (WaPo)
J7, J9 and W19 fare hike (WMATA)
Thanks to @mktgalchemist for being a great guide!