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BART will run during PG&E Bay Area blackouts

Crowding and delays possible during outages

A BART train on a darkened platform with bright artificial lighting. Photo by Getty

Bay Area residents stymied by the intentional mass blackouts instigated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) this week can count on one saving grace: BART assures riders that it will continue operating even in blackout areas.

One of the only lucky breaks with the blackout plan—which could affect up to 800,000 PG&E customers in 34 Northern California counties, including every Bay Area county except for San Francisco—is that BART had the opportunity to plan workarounds ever since PG&E began warning about the anti-wildfire power outages in August.

“BART has flexibility to pull power from other sections of our traction power supply system to replace power turned off” the transit agency said in a Tuesday statement. The agency also notes that generators provide power to systems like tunnel fans and that all stations have their own power system for lighting in the event that municipal power fails.

(The agency issued this statement originally in August, after PG&E announced its new anti-wildfire blackout program, but republished it Tuesday as the possibility of mass Bay Area outages grew.)

BART singled out Rockridge, Orinda, Lafayette, Castro Valley, West Dublin, and Dublin/Pleasanton stations as the ones likely to be affected by the possible mass outage this week, stating that “BART has placed portable generators at these stations to supply house power” keeping fare gates, lights, elevators, and trains in operation.

Be aware that crowding and delays are more likely during emergency situations.

Caltrans had considered closing Caldecott Tunnel Tuesday night; however, PG&E will install generators inside the Caldecott Tunnel, so it will not close.

Residents looking to reach PG&E resource centers, which will provide air conditioning and generators to charge phones and devices, can use BART. Here’s a list of where customers can find the centers.