No fooling—BART riders won’t get their long-awaited extension into the South Bay until at least April 2020, four months after what both BART and Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) previously touted as the final deadline for opening the two new stations.
San Jose Mercury-News reported the latest delay, basing it on what both transit agencies said about the time needed to properly test the new parts system leading to Milpitas Station and San Jose’s Berryessa Station.
Previously, BART and VTA had proposed an accelerated testing schedule that would have seen the new stations barely open on time by the end of this year. But in November they scrubbed that plan and decided to do it the old-fashioned way, even if it meant resigning to a 2020 finish.
VTA says that it will wrap up its phases of tests at the end of January. And in November, BART’s chief engineer tentatively estimated that tests will take approximately 12 weeks. So that leaves riders looking at an April completion date—at the earliest.
April is not, however, the official new service date for either station. In fact, there is no new date—BART has thus far declined to designate a 2020 target for opening, simply saying that the agency is working as fast as it can.
The 10-mile, $2.3-billion extension of the lines that currently end at Warm Springs Station has been delayed seemingly since day one, originally breaking ground in 2012 and hoping to reach the point of rider service by 2015.
VTA projects that by 2030 roughly 20,000 passengers will use Milpitas Station each day, and 25,000 will pass through Berryessa Station, the first of the planned San Jose stops. A further six-mile extension into San Jose has yet to begin construction.