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Austrian Airline’s genesis can be traced back to March 20, 1918, at which time the Austrian Postal Administration had inaugurated daily scheduled mail service from Vienna to Kiew with intermediate stops in Krakow, Lwow, and Proskurow, a route whose average stage length had been 250 kilometers. When space had permitted, passengers had also been carried. The highly successful, punctual service was later extended from Proskurow to Odessa and from Vienna to Budapest. However, a flight prohibition, implemented at the end of World War I, had resulted in its termination.
When the ban had finally been lifted, Austria subsequently reentered the civil aviation market by founding the Oesterreichische Luftverkehrs AG (OELAG) on May 12, 1923 with an initial one million Crown investment financed by Junkers, a German aircraft manufacturer (49 percent), and various Austrian shareholders (51 percent). Commencing scheduled service from Munich to Vienna some two days later, it had utilized a Junkers F.13, a single-engined, low-wing monoplane which had featured an enclosed cockpit and passenger cabin and had rested on a tail wheel. OELAG eventually operated several versions of this rugged, but (then) modern design, and increasing demand had soon necessitated larger aircraft, the first of which had been a higher-capacity, tri-engined Junkers G.24 delivered in 1927 and the second of which had been the more advanced G.31, delivered the following year. Perhaps the ultimate design had been the Junkers Ju.52/3m, a tri-engined, 18-passenger airliner with a gross weight of 24,000 pounds and a cruise speed in excess of 150 mph, which had joined the fleet in 1936. Most major East and West European flag carriers had also operated the type at this time.
By the following year, OELAG’s route system had radiated to Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, London, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Zurich, in addition to incorporating several Austrian domestic destinations, with much of the service daily. It eventually became the fourth largest European carrier after Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France, with 975,840 weekly seat-kilometers. Coincident with OELAG’s growth had been the completion of five Austrian airports–namely, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, and Vienna.
When Austria had been absorbed into the Third Reich in 1938, OELAG had been incorporated into Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH). Nevertheless, it had flown 120,000 passengers 7.5 million kilometers without fatality during its reign.
2. Initial Growth
When World War II had ended, Austria, now independent, had signed the Peace Treaty with all four occupying powers in 1955, and had once again sought to enter the civil aviation field by forming a flag carrier. Two such national airlines were actually proposed: Air Austria, formed by the Austrian People’s Party and capitalized by KLM and later Fred Olsen, a Norwegian charter company, and Austrian Airways, formed by the Austrian Socialist Party and financially supported by SAS. Neither ever flew and the two were eventually combined on September 30, 1957 to form an integrated company with an initial AUS 60 million investment which adopted, Phoenix-like, its pre-war name of Oesterreichische Luftverkehrs AG, but whose English equivalent of “Austrian Airlines” had now been used. The airline had thus been born.
Ownership had encompassed Austrian private investors, at 42 percent; public enterprises, at 28 percent; SAS, at 15 percent; and Fred Olsen, at 15 percent. Austrian inaugurated scheduled service on March 31, 1958 after a 20-year suspension with four leased Vickers V.779 Viscounts, a medium-capacity, four-engined turboprop airliner designed in Great Britain and initially deployed over the Vienna-Zurich-London route. Austrian had finally returned to the sky.
Growth proceeded rapidly and, in 1960, it took delivery of the first of four larger-capacity, stretched Vickers V.837 Viscounts, which it inaugurated into service on May 23, and the following year it received the Vickers V.845 Viscount for slightly lower-capacity routes. Both British turboprops provided reliable, economical service, the V.837 not being retired until 1971. The Douglas DC-3, the best-selling civil airliner of all time, had also been acquired at this time and had enabled Austrian to inaugurate domestic services on May 1, 1963, a route which would later be served by Austrian Air Services. This aircraft was replaced by the more advanced, larger-capacity, turboprop-powered Hawker Siddeley HS.748-2 in 1966, another British design.
Austrian Airlines entered the jet age on February 20, 1963 when it inaugurated the first of five Sud-Aviation SE.210-VIR Caravelle twin-jets into service and set the stage for its eventual strategy of operating short- to medium-range, low- to medium-capacity, t-tailed twin-jets on a predominantly European (and later North African and Middle Eastern) route structure. Designed in France, the Caravelle was quiet, cruised above the weather, and reduced flying times between European capitals, and had, in fact, been the first design to permit economical, short-range, pure-jet service.
3. Transatlantic Experiment
Contrary to most European flag carriers, which had operated transatlantic service to the United Stares and Canada with quad-engined DC-4s since World War II, Austrian Airlines had maintained its medium-range route system until April 1, 1969. It had been at this time that it had stretched its wings across the Atlantic with a large-capacity, intercontinental Boeing 707-320, registered OE-LBA and chartered from Sabena Belgian World Airways, which had been deployed on the Vienna-New York route with an intermediate stop in Brussels. This so-called “transatlantic experiment,” despite Austrian’s delay in launching it, had ultimately proven both a premature and financially unsound one for two primary reasons:
1. The home market had still been too small.
2. Vienna-Schwechat had been insufficiently developed as a hub, providing few connecting flights to which this transatlantic service could transfer passengers.
Resultantly, after a two-year trial, the 707 had been returned to Sabena on March 31, 1971, leaving Austrian once again to concentrate on its primarily continental route system for which nine short-to medium-range, low-capacity McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-30s had been ordered.
Similar in overall design to the Caravelle, but manufactured in the United States, the t-tailed jetliner offered a slightly higher passenger capacity, greater payload capability, a higher gross weight, more powerful engines, and improved economy, and with it Austrian entered a new era which would span almost two decades. It had later described this design as “the start of something big, classical and still modern.” The first DC-9-30 had been delivered on June 19, 1971 and the type soon proved to be the mainstay of its fleet.
In 1974, Austrian leased a McDonnell-Douglas DC-8-63F, registered OE-IBO, from Overseas National Airways (ONA) for cargo services to Hong Kong, but these were later discontinued. Other than the 707-320, the DC-8-63F was its only other large-capacity, long-range, quad-engined jet.
So versatile and popular had the DC-9 design proven itself to be, that Austrian later ordered five stretched, higher-capacity DC-9-50s. The first of these had been delivered on September 14, 1975.
That these twin-engined aircraft and the discontinuation of its transatlantic service were proper strategies for the Austrian national carrier had been reflected by its positive growth. On June 26, 1974, for example, a new maintenance base had been opened at Schwechat International Airport-Vienna. Its value had also continued to swell: in 1967 its share capital had increased by AUS 140 million to AUS 290 million. In 1969, it had further increased to 390 million. And in 1962 it had reached the one billion mark. During each of the three years, from 1972 to 1974, it had posted a profit. Its route system had equally expanded: in 1976, Austrian had stretched its wings to Cairo in the Middle East and to Stockholm and Helsinki in Scandinavia.
Demand, soon outpacing capacity, had necessitated an initial order for eight McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-80s to replace its existing DC-9-50s. Also designated DC-9 Super 80, this aircraft had been a more modernized version of the previous –50 series variant for medium-range deployment and featured a further fuselage stretch for still higher capacity and refanned, higher-thrust, and more fuel-efficient Pratt and Whitney JT8D-209 engines. Austrian, which shared the distinction of being launch customer for the design with Swissair, inaugurated the first elongated DC-9-81 into service on October 26, 1980 on the Vienna-Zurich route with aircraft OE-LDR “Wien.” The twin-jet was later redesignated MD-81 and quickly became the short- to medium-range workhorse of its fleet.
New additions to its ever-expanding route system included Larnaca in 1979; Jeddah, also in 1979; and Tripoli in 1981.
Another 1980 milestone had been the foundation of Austrian Air Services (AAS), which would eventually become a wholly-owned subsidiary, to operate Austrian domestic routes with two 19-passenger, twin-turboprop Fairchild Swearingen Metro II commuter aircraft. The first such service had been operated on April 1.
Austrian plied smooth skies. Indeed, its 1980 balance sheet had indicated a AUS 71.5 million net profit, its tenth consecutive one.
The MD-81, intemittently proving itself to be as optimally suited to its route system as the twin-jet SE.210-VIR, the DC-9-30, and the DC-9-50 had been, was followed by its shorter-fuselage derivative, the MD-87, which Austrian ordered on December 19, 1984 for lower-capacity route sectors, and the Austrian Air Services fleet was equally upgraded with the addition of two 50-passenger Fokker F.50 twin-turboprops which were ordered on September 25 of the following year.
4. Transatlantic Return
Operating a modern, fuel-efficient fleet over an expanding route system and carrying almost 1.5 million passengers in 1986, Austrian once again contemplated intercontinental service, now both to New York in the west and to Tokyo in the east, and toward this end it had converted its previous order for two medium-range Airbus Industrie A-310-200s to the long-range A-310-300 version on June 25, 1986. Austrian had signed the original memorandum of understanding for the A-310-200s as far back as April 18, 1979, a date which was to prove a full decade before the service would actually get off the ground. Three factors could be cited as to why the time may have been ripe for a relaunching of this service:
1. In the 15-year interval since the last intercontinental service had been terminated, the home market had considerably grown, a fact demonstrated by the prevailing increases in nonstop US-Vienna service, provided by Pan Am, Royal Jordanian, and Tarom from New York, and by American from Chicago.
2. Its route structure in general equally offered excellent connections to West European, North African, and Middle Eastern destinations.
3. The A-310 had thus enabled long, thin routes such as Lyon-New York with Air France, Frankfurt-Newark with Lufthansa, Istanbul-New York with THY, and New York-Stockholm with Pan Am to have been served.
The decision to reinstate intercontinental service, scheduled for the spring of 1989, had officially been made two years earlier, on June 25, 1987, and would be operated by two Pratt and Whitney-powered A-310-300s which would serve the Vienna-New York and Vienna-Moscow-Tokyo routes, the latter in cooperation with Aeroflot and ANA All-Nippon Airways. These services had been predicted to have depended upon the connecting passenger for profitability. On the New York route, for example, a 66-percent, break-even load factor had been needed during the first year of operation, primarily comprised of US-originating, Austria-originating, and connecting passengers. Both routes had relied on the lucrative, high-yield, frequent business traveler who had been unable to take advantage of the lower, restricted fares. Austrian Airlines would offer a first class cabin on its A-310-300s for the first time in its history.
The first aircraft, registered OE-LAA “New York,” had been delivered on December 22, 1988, and the second, OE-LAB “Tokyo,” had followed in January. The aircraft had constituted the airline’s first widebody, twin-aisle type.
Austrian had returned to the transatlantic US market on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1989, when two smoke puffs had signaled the touchdown of the red-white-red liveried widebody twin-jet, configured for 12 first class, 37 business class, and 123 economy class passengers, at JFK amid warm spring weather. After a brief turn-around, the aircraft, operating as Flight OS 502 and piloted by Captain Braeuer and First Officer Kutzenberger, had been tug-maneuvered away from the gate at 1900 with 121 passengers, who would be served by nine cabin attendants, and took off into the deep purple dusk at a take off weight of 153,603 kilos, 40,300 of which had been fuel required for the Atlantic crossing. The flight had been 18 years in the making.
Airport, reservations, sales, and marketing staff had subsequently gathered in the Icelandair Saga Lounge used by its business class passengers for a celebratory drink and a group photograph.
The Tokyo route had been opened in the summer and the A-310, to become Austrian’s intercontinental widebody, had served it for more than a decade, operating to multiple US, African, and Far Eastern destinations with four aircraft in a final two-class seat configuration registered as follows:
By the summer of 1989, Austrian Airlines had served 54 cities in 36 countries in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Japan with a total route length of 100,358 unduplicated kilometers. These services had been operated by 26 aircraft comprised of the Fokker F.50, the McDonnell-Douglas MD-81/82/83/87, and the Airbus A-310-300 whose average age had then been four years and had been describable as follows:
1. Airbus A-310-300: A long-range, medium-capacity, wide-body, twin-aisle, twin-engine jet airliner–Austrian Airlines’ intercontinental jet. Austrian Airlines had dubbed it an “intercontinental European.”
2. McDonnell-Douglas MD-81: A medium-range, medium-capacity, narrow-body, single-aisle, twin-engine jet airliner–Austrian Airline’s European, North African, and Middle Eastern workhorse. Austrian Airlines had described it as a “universal medium-haul airliner and the mainstay of its fleet.”
3. McDonnell-Douglas MD-82: The carrier had ordered the variant “for special-duty scheduled and charter services.”
4. McDonnell-Douglas MD-87: The short-fuselaged, lower-capacity version had been “tailor-made to its needs in capacity and range.”
5. Fokker F.50: A short- and regional-range, low-capacity, narrow-body, single-aisle, twin-engine turboprop airliner operated by Austrian Airline’s Austrian Air Services subsidiary on domestic and select long, thin international routes. Austrian Airlines had considered it “a propjet specialist in city-hopping.”
In addition to Austrian Air Services, Austrian Airlines owned 80 percent of Austrian Air Transport (AAT), which operated worldwide charter and inclusive tour (IT) flights with both Austrian Airlines and Austrian Air Services aircraft, having carried 506,000 passengers in 1988. It also maintained a close marketing agreement with Tyrolean Airways which operated services from Innsbruck with 37-passenger de Havilland of Canada DHC-8-100s and 50-passenger DHC-7-100s.
5. JFK Station Evolution
Initial training, held at Austrian Airlines’ North American headquarters in Whitestone, New York, and taught by Peter “Luigi” Huebner, commenced on February 6, 1989, or some six weeks before the inaugural flight, and had included the “Passenger Handling I” and “Adios Check-In” courses.
Austrian Airlines’ first JFK location, the East Wing of the no-longer-existent International Arrivals Building, had shared facilities with Icelandair, including five Austrian-specific check-in counters and the jointly-used Icelandair Saga Lounge, the former equipped with computers, automated boarding pass printers, and laser-scannable baggage tag printers. The ground staff, entirely employed and trained by Austrian and outfitted in its uniform, had performed the full spectrum of functions: Passenger Service, Ticket Sales, Lost-and-Found, Load Control, Administration, Supervision, and Management.
However, the success of the operation relied upon the equipment which had serviced it and it had been the decision of Airbus Industrie to scale-down its full-size A-300 which had resulted in the A-310-300 and had made the reinstated transatlantic operation possible. Its long-range, twin-engine, wide body design, of concurrent technology, had offered the same range and twin-aisle comfort to the passenger as the comparable quad-engined 747 or the tri-engined DC-10 or L-1011, yet at the same time had been a quiet, fuel-efficient aircraft with a small enough capacity to permit profitable, year-round operations. The larger 747, DC-10, or L-1011 would have, because of market size, been forced to operate at a loss for most of the year except during the peak summer travel season. Any of the other then long-range aircraft, inclusive of the Boeing 707 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-8, had featured older-generation, fuel-thirsty, noise-emissive, four-engined technology of early-1960s design which, because of newly enforced Stage 2 noise requirements, would have been banned from US operation unless they had been hush-kitted or altogether engine-retrofitted. It had been because of the very A-310 that Austrian Airlines and other smaller European carriers like it had been able to profitably operate the long, thin Vienna-New York route sector.
The initial 1989 timetable had offered six weekly frequencies during the summer and five in the winter, at which time two A-310-300s had operated both transatlantically to New York and to the Far East, via Moscow, to Tokyo. They alternatively flew the longer-range sectors to Tel Aviv, Istanbul, and Teheran. During the first six months of JFK operations, an aircraft had never experienced an excessive delay because of aircraft scheduling and on-time performance had been exemplary.
In-flight service had represented a large portion of an airline’s expenditure. As a result, many of the carriers had begun to reduce this in order to decrease costs. Austrian Airlines, however, remained unique in a world aloft reduced to snacks and paper cups by providing printed menus, amenity kits, china service, complimentary alcoholic beverages, and free earphones in the coach cabin on the Vienna-New York and New York-Vienna route, a concept which had placed its product at the very top of the quality list.
Because of the size of the A-310, however, lower-deck cargo space had been limited, with the forward hold usually accommodating the baggage unit load devices (ULDs) and the aft hold accommodating the cargo itself, which had often been restricted to two pallets and a single AKE unit.
There had always been a certain “prestige” to flying to New York. Although the number of annual passengers entering the United States through JFK had begun to decline as an increasing number of alternative US gateways had become available, it had still been the largest entry point. New York had therefore remained the most logical destination for a small carrier which had only served a single US city. Because JFK had handled 1990 traffic with a (then) insufficiently sized, outmoded 1950s International Arrivals Building facility, the operation often suffered service deteriorations, particularly during peak arrival times when it had became very strained, entailing delays during taxi and subsequent immigration, luggage retrieval, and customs formalities. The saturated air traffic conditions stretching from Boston to Washington through which the aircraft had to fly; the subsequently dense approach pattern formed by JFK, La Guardia, and Newark International Airports; and the final difficulty in obtaining a landing slot equally impacted operations. Passengers had often underestimated the time required to complete arrival processing after actually leaving the aircraft. It had, however, been this environment that Austrian Airlines had chosen when it had elected to partake of the “New York experience.”
Although these negative facets of the operation had sometimes placed it in a poor light, it had, in fact, been JFK’s operations, and not Austrian’s, which had been observed, since all carriers operating into JFK had fallen victim to these ills, and because of them, an extensive renovation and rebuilding project, designated “JFK 2000,” had at this time been launched, which would ultimately lead to the construction or renovation of almost every terminal, new parking garages, and an inter-airport light rail system.
Although New York-Vienna load factors had initially been low, these had steadily increased until the vast majority of flights had been full. Large tour groups had constituted an increasing portion of the passenger mixture, along with the anticipated connecting passenger, who had been able to take advantage of the expanding Vienna hub. It had been the ultimate testament to a carrier when a passenger had chosen to fly with it and make a connection at its intermediate hub as opposed to flying nonstop with a national carrier.
As a “second attempt” across the Atlantic, Austrian Airline’s intercontinental A-310 service to New York had ultimately proven successful.
With the acquisition of its third A-310-300, registered OE-LAC, Austrian Airlines had striven to serve a second US gateway in the spring of 1991 and had wished to establish a presence on the West Coast, specifically in Los Angeles, but the A-310-300’s 11-hour flight duration had precluded this reality. Chicago had been alternatively considered, but American’s own nonstop Boeing 767-200ER service to Vienna from Chicago-O’Hare, where it had established its second largest hub, had proven too competitive and Washington-Dulles had therefore been chosen instead.
For the European continental network, a higher gross weight McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 had been scheduled for 1991 delivery and several of the existing MD-81s had been slated for conversion to this standard, thus permitting increased range and/or payload capability. Two further Fokker F.50s had also been on order or option to facilitate increased domestic and long, thin international service.
During the five-year period, from 1989 to 1994, Austrian Airlines had operated independently at JFK, offering as few as four weekly departures during the winter and as many as seven during the summer.
6. Delta Air Lines Code Share
Changing market conditions had necessitated modified strategies at JFK. Seeking to align itself with a US domestic carrier in order to obtain vital “feed” to its transatlantic flights it had been unable to achieve on its own, Austrian Airlines had concluded a marketing agreement with Delta Air Lines in 1994, in which it would place its two-letter “OS” code on Delta-operated flights, while Delta itself would reciprocally place its two-letter “DL” code on Austrian’s services. Two Delta flight attendants, in their own uniforms, had initially also served in the cabins of Austrian’s A-310s to and from Vienna.
Although the concept had slowly reaped financial benefit, the aircraft had ultimately achieved high load factors, carrying both Austrian and Delta passengers from some two dozen US cities through New York to Vienna, often with beyond-travel.
In order to reduce ground-handling costs and attain synergistic, inter-carrier benefits, Austrian Airlines had relocated its operations to Delta Terminal 1A (later redesignated Terminal 2) on July 1, 1994, retaining only nine of its original 21 staff members. Delta Air Lines, the newly-designated ground-handling carrier, had performed arrivals, lost-and-found, passenger check-in, departure gate, ramp, and baggage room functions, while Austrian itself had continued to act within the ticketing, load control, administration, supervision, and management capacities.
Also in 1994, Austrian had taken delivery of the first of two long-range, quad-engined A-340-200s configured for 36 business class and 227 economy class passengers. The two aircraft, which would periodically serve New York throughout the next decade, appeared with the following registrations:
From February 1997 to February 1998, Austrian also relocated its check-in counters and operational office to Delta Terminal 3, but otherwise operated within the same marketing framework.
1997 also marked the first time that the transatlantic route to New York had sufficiently matured to support a second departure on selected days during the summer timetable, with the aircraft arriving at 2045 and redeparting at 2205. Usually operated by aircraft OE-LAC, an A-310 with a reduced-capacity business, but higher-capacity economy class section, the late flight had fostered better connections with the midday bank of departures from Vienna.
7. Atlantic Excellence
Once again yielding to airline deregulation-necessitated realignment and endeavoring to further attain cost-reducing synergies, Austrian Airlines had integrated its JFK operations with Sabena and Swissair on March 1, 1998 under the Atlantic Excellence Alliance, forming the first tri-carrier station. Although the employees of the three carriers had continued to wear their respective uniforms, they had operated from single passenger service and load control offices, utilizing a joint Austrian, Sabena, and Swissair check-in facility, and equally handled each other’s flights. During the peak summer season, seven daily departures operated by four airlines had been offered.
The Atlantic Excellence station had been comprised of eight functions, including Control, Arrivals, Departures, VIP/Special Services, Ticketing, Load Control, Ramp Supervision, and Trouble Shooting. Because Swissair had already been contracted to provide Malev-Hungarian Airlines’ load sheet services, the Load Control function itself had entailed handling some six aircraft types, inclusive of the 747, the A-340, the MD-11, the A-330, the 767, and the A-310, and the Atlantic Excellence integration had often required inter-carrier training courses.
As had singularly occurred with Austrian Airlines, Delta had equally concluded reciprocal two-letter code-share agreements with Sabena and Swissair, but now took the former marketing arrangement to full alliance status at Delta’s significantly-maturing New York-JFK flight hub. Delta continued to provide the ramp and baggage room functions for all three Atlantic Excellence airlines.
In August of that year, Austrian had taken delivery of the first of four longer-range, higher-capacity A-330-200s, registered OE-LAM and configured for 30 business and 235 economy class passengers, and the type had ultimately replaced the workhorse A-310-300 fleet. The four aircraft, later operating with a reduced business class capacity of 24 when the Grand Class concept had been introduced, had included the following registrations:
During the summer timetable of 1998, JFK had fielded its first dual-aircraft type operation, with the first departure standardly operated by the A-330 and the second by the A-310.
8. Star Alliance
Although an ultimate “Swissport Solution,” under which all Atlantic Excellence JFK ground staff would be transferred to the ground-handling company, had been envisioned, the eventuality had never played out. Rumors, rumbling through the station like the gentle forewarnings of a pending storm, had pervaded the atmosphere by mid-1999. A new strategy seemed to loom on the horizon and its seeds, planted long before it had bloomed, had been multi-faceted and omni-encompassing.
1. In June of 1999, Delta Air Lines and Air France had formed the fundamental basis of a new global alliance, later named SkyTeam, thus dissolving the 25-month Austrian/Delta/Sabena/Swissair Atlantic Excellence Alliance whose agreement, without renegotiation, would have expired in August of 2000.
2. Despite an agreed investment limitation of 10%, Swissair had nevertheless attempted to purchase additional Austrian Airlines stock, precluding Austrian’s goal of autonomous identity and independent ownership and forcing it to withdraw from the Swissair-led Qualiflyer Alliance of European carriers.
3. Swissair and Sabena had formed a combined commercial management structure, which again had proven contrary to Austrian Airlines’ independent direction.
4. In early 2000, both Sabena and Swissair had concluded a code-share cooperation agreement with American Airlines, a US airline-alignment counter to Austrian Airlines’ US feed strategy.
Austrian Airlines, a small, but profitable international carrier of considerable quality, had nevertheless needed the reach of a global alliance to remain financially viable and thus concluded a membership agreement with the Lufthansa- and United-led Star Alliance, which had become effective on March 26, 2000. Still the largest and longest-running alliance, it had then been comprised of Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon, Ansett Australia, Austrian Airlines, British Midland, Lauda Air, Lufthansa, Mexicana, SAS, Thai Airways International, Tyrolean, United, and Varig, and had collectively carried 23-percent of the world’s passenger traffic. At the same time, the decision had permitted continued independent identity and autonomous operation, yet expansion potential for both the airline and its Vienna hub. Expressed as a sentiment, the decision could be stated as, “Here we grow again!”
The transition from the Atlantic Excellence to the Star Alliance, having commenced as early as January 2000, had entailed four integral changes:
1. An entirely new IT (information technology) system and frequent flier program.
2. The operational relocation to a new terminal, passenger service office, passenger check-in counter, load control-aircraft dispatch center, and gate at JFK.
3. New alliance airline code-share flights and traffic feed had resulted in the closing of the Atlanta station and the subsequent opening of the Chicago and reopening of the Washington stations in the US.
4. The company-wide migration training in Oberlaa, Austria.
Star Alliance membership, once again entailing a relocation to Terminal One at JFK, had prompted another handling carrier change, from Delta to Lufthansa, which had now performed the Baggage Services and Passenger Check-In functions, while Austrian itself had continued to act in the capacities of Arrivals, Ticketing, Load Control, Ramp Supervision, and Management. Under a reciprocal agreement, it had also provided these passenger services to Lufthansa for its own Frankfurt departures during non-operational hours. Aircraft loading and baggage room functions had been provided by Hudson General, which had later been renamed GlobeGround North America.
In a further cost-reduction strategy, Austrian Airlines had relocated to a smaller, lower-rent Passenger Service office on the ground floor of Terminal One in September 2002, at which time the Load Control/Ramp Supervision function had been awarded to Lufthansa. No longer serving Lufthansa’s flights, the Austrian staff had been further reduced to six full-time and two part-time positions and the daily shift hours had decreased from nine to eight.
Austrian’s largest-capacity aircraft, the A-340-300–accommodating 30 business class and 261 economy class passengers–had intermittently also provided service to JFK, particularly during the summer 2002 timetable when a late Saturday departure had been scheduled. Two such aircraft had then been in the fleet:
9. Swissport USA
The consistent thrust to reduce costs had resulted in yet another handling-company change at JFK on January 1, 2003, when most of the ground services had been transferred from Lufthansa to Swissport USA.
In preparation for the change, the Swissport passenger service staff had attended the Guide Check-In course in Vienna in December 2002, while one Swissport agent, who had structured the Baggage Services department, had attended the World Tracer Basic course in October of the following year.
Outfitted in Austrian Airlines uniforms, the Swissport staff had performed the Arrivals, Lost-and-Found, Passenger Check-In, Departure Gate, Load Control, and Ramp Supervision functions, while Austrian itself had continued to provide Ticket Sales, Administration, Supervision, and Management services. Load control, which had initially been performed in Terminal 4 using the Swissair DCS system, had been transferred to Terminal One and the Lufthansa-WAB system after the Swissport operations personnel had completed a computerized load control course in Vienna that March.
10. North American Station Training Program
Because most of the Swissport agents had had little previous airline experience; had been unfamiliar with Austrian Airlines’ product and procedures; and had mostly had only a basic, entry-level Passenger Service Course, I had endeavored to create a local training program by drafting the course descriptions, writing the textbooks, devising the quizzes and exams, teaching the courses themselves, and subsequently issuing the training certificates in order to more adequately prepare them to perform their functions.
The program, tracing its routes to the Austrian Airlines Passenger Handling Course created in 1989 and the introductory Load Control material written in 1998, had evolved into the full-fledged North American Station Training Program, whose content, updated in accordance with aircraft, system, procedure, and alliance change, had entailed the four integral curriculums of “Initial Passenger Service,” “Ramp Supervision Certification,” “Load Control Licensing,” and “Airline Management;” and had ultimately encompassed 27 Passenger Service, Ramp Supervision, Load Control, Air Cargo, and Airline Station Management procedural and training manuals; two station histories; 28 curriculums; and 63 courses taught to Austrian Airlines and Austrian Airlines-handling carriers Delta, Lufthansa, Passenger Handling Services/Maca, SAS, Servair, and Swissport at the eight North American stations of Atlanta, Cancun, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Punta Cana, Toronto, and Washington.
The program, which had quickly become the equivalent of an “Airline University” and had often been sited as the reason why Swissport staff had continually striven to transfer to the Austrian Airlines account, had often proven instrumental in their career path advancements, facilitating their promotions or acceptances by other airlines.
11. Boeing and Lauda to JFK
JFK, hitherto exclusively served by Austrian Airlines and its fleet of A-310, A-330, and A-340 Airbus widebody aircraft, had received its first regularly scheduled Lauda Air 767 operation during the summer of 2004, while the frequency had multiplied four-fold by the following year. During 2007, it had altogether replaced the 17-year Airbus service.
Founded in April 1979 by Niki Lauda, of racing car fame, Lauda Air had acquired Alpair Vienna’s charter license for ATS 5 million and had initiated charter and air taxi service in cooperation with Austrian Airlines with two Fokker F.27 Friendship turboprops, predecessors to the Fokker F.50s Austrian Air Services itself had later operated. Niki Lauda, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1949, had amassed his wealth as a Formula I racing driver, having won two world champion titles and 25 Grand Prix races. It had quickly became apparent, however, that two Austrian carriers could not coexist because of fierce competition, downward yield pressure, and an inadequate local market base, and the F.27s had ultimately been leased to Egyptair.
Six years later, in January of 1985, two BAC-111-500s, a British twin-jet not unlike the SE.210 Caravelle in size, range, and design, had been leased from Tarom Romanian Airlines, increasing its fleet capacity to 208 seats, and these had later been deployed on charter and inclusive-tour (IT) services, initially to Greece, but later to other European destinations. Demand became so high that it had ultimately exceeded available capacity and a larger 737-200, leased from Transavia Holland, had replaced one of the BAC-111s, with both types later disposed of upon delivery of two still-higher capacity, new technology 737-300s. These had been operated on a steadily growing charter route network.
In May 1986, Lauda Air had applied to the Austrian Ministry of Transport for a license to operate scheduled international service. This had been approved in November 1987, thus ending Austrian Airlines’ long-held monopoly. A subsequently-acquired, 235-passenger, dual class Boeing 767-300ER had permitted long-range, intercontinental flights to be inaugurated, the first of which, on May 7, 1988, had been a weekly scheduled Vienna-Bangkok-Hong Kong service, shortly joined by a Vienna-Bangkok-Sydney sector. Filling the need for lower-fare, long-haul, leisure-oriented travel, Lauda Air grew rapidly. In 1985, for instance, it had carried 95,768 passengers and had flown 2,522 flight hours with 67 employees, while in the first ten months of 1987, it had carried 236,730 passengers and had undertaken 5,364 flight hours with 169 employees, a 147-percent passenger increase. By 1990, its fleet had swelled to five aircraft, comprised of three 146-passenger 737-300s and two 235-passenger 767-300ERs, which had been deployed on charter services to European destinations such as Spain and Greece, Middle Eastern destinations like Israel, and to Africa and the Far East, and on scheduled services to Vienna, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Sydney.
Earning its license for European scheduled service on August 23, 1990 for the first time, a right thus far only held by incumbent Austrian Airlines, it had commenced service from Vienna to London-Gatwick with five weekly 737-300 flights.
Seeking entry into the Austrian market, Lufthansa-German Airlines had announced a marketing cooperation with Lauda Air in July 1992, sealing this alliance the following January with a 26.5-percent capital increase, shortly after which the two carriers had inaugurated a quad-weekly 767-300ER service to Los Angeles.
Well aware of competition from Austrian Airlines on inter-European routes from its limited Vienna market, Lauda had sought to inaugurate its own service with small-capacity, 50-passenger, twin-engined Canadair Regional Jets, ordering six of the type in October 1993, which had been deployed on routes to Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Geneva, Manchester, and Stockholm with the start of the summer timetable on March 27, 1994. Singapore, which had replaced Bangkok in November of that year, had become the new “bridge” between Vienna and Sydney/Melbourne, and the weekly 767 service had been doubled.
On March 26, 1995, Lauda Air had established a second European hub, Milan-Malpensa, in cooperation with Lufthansa, which now held a 39.7-percent stake in the fledgling Austrian carrier, basing three of the six originally-ordered CRJ-100s there. These had been deployed to Vienna, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, and Dublin. The Candair Regional Jets, along with an increasing number of 737s, had provided the backbone of its European fleet.
It had soon become apparent that pending European deregulation would not likely tolerate dozen-aircraft airlines unless they had served very small, specific market niches. Lauda Air had been unable to survive in the face of competition from Austrian Airlines once before. Both had operated medium- and long-range, twin-engine aircraft from bases in Vienna and had offered considerable passenger service quality. An ultimate cooperation with Austrian Airlines seemed inevitable. This had been partially consummated in June 1996, at which time Austrian Airlines and Lauda Air had operated single-aircraft, dual-code flights to Nice, Milan, and Rome with the regional jet for the first time. On March 12, 1997, this had been expanded, with the announcement of a strategic, tri-carrier Austrian/Lauda/Lufthansa cooperation, Austrian Airlines now taking a 36-percent stake in its former competitor with Lauda himself retaining 30 percent and Lufthansa 20 percent.
On September 24 of that year, Lauda Air took delivery of its second wide body aircraft type, the 777-200, which had been inaugurated into service on the Vienna-Singapore-Sydney-Melbourne route on October 1, replacing the venerable 767.
On September 21, 1999, now one of the three integral “Austrian Airlines Group” members along with Austrian Airlines itself and Tyrolean Airways, Lauda Air had announced its intention to join the Star Alliance, which became effective on March 26, 2000.
As the lower-cost arm within the three-airline group, Lauda Air had provided medium- and long-range scheduled and charter service on leisure-oriented routes with a four-type, 22-aircraft fleet, maintaining its own brand identity. In 2004, however, the first steps toward integration with the Austrian Airlines brand had occurred with the ratification of a joint Austrian-Lauda Air cockpit crew contract, and in January of 2005, aircraft OE-LAE had become the first of four 767-300s to have been repainted in the Austrian Airlines livery, featuring the new interior color scheme and a 24-business class and 230-economy class passenger configuration. Lauda Air itself had reverted entirely to a single-class, high-density charter carrier within the Austrian Airlines Group with a narrow body fleet of Boeing 737s and Airbus A-320s.
The summer 2004 Lauda 767 flight, which had operated as an addition to the daily Austrian frequency during the 11-week period from June 26 to September 5, had arrived at 2055 on Saturday evenings and departed some 25 hours later on Sunday at 2200. In order to prepare the station for the additional service, local Boeing 767 Passenger Service and Boeing 767 Load Control courses had been created and taught to the Swissport staff. Because Lufthansa had not been licensed on 767 aircraft, maintenance had been contracted to Delta Air Lines, which had operated all three -200, -300, and -400 series 767s, and an extensive night stop and security procedure had been performed before aircraft push-back to the Terminal One hardstand, at which time security seals had been applied to all access doors. The inbound galley equipment had been offloaded and washed and prepared for the following evening.
The late departure had proven difficult to sell in the business cabin without considerable marketing promotion and fare reduction because of the aircraft’s then 36-passenger Amadeus Class capacity. Due to the size of its aft, lower-deck door, cargo-pallet loading had been restricted to four positions in the forward compartment. The aircraft themselves had operated in a combination of Lauda Air and Star Alliance liveries.
During the summer 2005 timetable, the 767-300 had operated up to four additional weekly frequencies from June 14 to September 2, resulting in 11 weekly departures from JFK, with the A-330 standardly operating the early service and the 767-300 operating the late flight.
In 2007, the type had altogether replaced the A-330 and A-340 fleet.
12. Centralized Load Control
In late-2006, a concept known as the “Centralized Load Control” (CLC) System had been implemented at JFK, and the station, like the nucleus of an atom, had become the core of it all.
Brainchild of Michael Steinbuegl, JFK Station Manager, the procedure, following trends set by Swiss International in New York, Lufthansa in Cape Town, and SAS in Bangkok, had its origins in an earlier investigative project in which he had explored cost reductions by means of a large, single Centralized Load Control department in Vienna or several regional ones, although the latter inherently carried language and time zone obstacles. Michael, former Aircraft Handling Manager, had amassed considerable experience creating operational procedures and methods, central to which had been weight and balance.
Seeking to apply this knowledge and simultaneously attempting to rectify the system incompatibility and communication difficulties encountered with the SAS-Bangkok arrangement in Washington, he tackled this station first, which, like JFK, already used the Lufthansa-WAB system. In the process, he set the course for the many transitions to come by making several duty trips to establish local station-compatible procedures and then drafting a detailed booklet concerning them. The first centralized load sheet for the Washington flight, OS 094, occurred on November 1, 2006.
Charlie Schreiner, the head of Austrian Airlines Load Control, subsequently marked the occasion with the following words: “With Austrian Airlines Flight OS 094 on November 1, our first line station had been connected to a regular Centralized Load Control process with ULD aircraft. All activities toward the operational flight preparation, load planning, ULD coordination, and WAB System documentation, inclusive of the load sheet transmitted to the cockpit via ACARs, had been successfully controlled by our JFK station yesterday. I would like to thank our colleagues Mike Steinbuegl and Robert Waldvogel for the professional and excellently organized preparation of the CLC procedures, as well as the Austrian ladies, Regula Munz and Eva Lingeman in Washington and the handling agents in JFK and Washington (Swissport and SAS Scandinavian Airlines System) in their engaging work during this transition. This good work had also led to the first flight departing three minutes ahead of its scheduled departure time. I wish all participants continued success in the CLC process.”
The remainder of the CLC program, however, involved phased implementation. In May of the following year, service had been reinaugurated from Chicago. Because this could now be considered a “new” station, it logically followed that its load sheet would be integrated into the CLC system from the start and, despite computer system differentiations, had been successfully adapted with the first flight on May 29 after procedural modifications.
With these cities being handled by JFK, it had been decided to integrate the last North American station, Toronto, whose first centralized load sheet had been issued on July 1.
Three Austrian Airlines-dedicated Swissport Load Controllers, two of whom had worked on a given day during the peak summer season, had formed the Centralized Load Control System team.
Since the fourth station had been integrated, JFK had produced some 120 load sheets per month, and the highly successful system had yielded numerous benefits.
1. It had, first and foremost, produced considerable savings.
2. All flights had departed on time relative to load plan and load sheet preparation.
3. All four North American flights had been operationally handled by only one more daily Load Controller than JFK had had for a single departure.
4. All loading instruction reports and load sheets had been generated in the Lufthansa-WAB system.
5. And Vienna had had immediate access to all load control-related data and documentation.
13. Boeing 777
When Austrian Airlines had turned the page of its winter 2008-2009 timetable on March 29, JFK had fielded its first Boeing 777-200ER operation, the carrier’s largest capacity equipment and the fifth basic type to have served New York after the A-310, the A-330, the A-340, and the 767.
The aircraft, having originally been acquired by Lauda Air, had been configured for 49 business and 258 economy class passenger, although two later examples, which had featured higher gross weights and modified passenger arrangements, had accommodated 260 economy class passengers in ten-abreast, three-four-three, configurations.
During the six-month period between April and September of 2009, the single flight had carried 34 percent more arriving and departing passengers, along with significantly increased complements of cargo and mail, than the comparable year-earlier period, when the 767 had been deployed.
The four 777 registrations had included the following:
14. Lufthansa Acquisition
2009 had been a pivotal year for Austrian Airlines. Because of the global economic downturn, escalating fuel prices, eroding yields, and strong competition within Western Europe from low cost carriers, its financial viability and therefore continued existence as a company had been threatened, despite previously unsuccessful attempts to stem its losses by selling its A-330 and A-340 fleet, reducing its long-range route system, and implementing several restructuring plans. Its savior, in the form of an agreement with Lufthansa-German Airlines to assume its debt and acquire the majority of its shares, had enabled it to continue operating.
On August 28, the European Commission had officially approved the proposed acquisition of the Austrian Airlines Group by Lufthansa-German Airlines, comprised of the 500 million euro restructuring assistance from the state holding company and the merger between the two carriers, thus paving the way toward Austrian Airlines’ integration into the Lufthansa Group by September. In order to achieve the required antitrust immunity, Lufthansa had agreed to relinquish key flight slots and reduce the number of services between Vienna and Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart. For Austrian Airlines, which would become one of Lufthansa’s many independent, European hub carriers, it had signaled financial survival; an improved economic foundation; cost synergies, such as joint fuel and aircraft purchasing; and access to Lufthansa’s extensive international sales and route network. Austrian Airlines’ own niche within this system had entailed the establishment of Vienna as a high-performance hub for traffic feed to its dense Central and Eastern European route system.
As a result of this ownership change, numerous, fundamental North American changes had occurred.
In Toronto and Washington, for example, agreements had been reached wherein Lufthansa had assumed the ground operations handling at these stations.
In New York, more than half of its Whitestone, North American headquarters, employees had been laid off and the location, for almost a quarter of a century its “fortress” located on the fifth floor of Octagon Plaza, had been closed, with the remaining staff relocating to Lufthansa’s East Meadow, Long Island, facility, and integrating with its staff.
At JFK, Austrian Airlines Cargo had relocated to the Lufthansa facility on November 1, and 16 days later Swissport had passed the ground-handling torch to Lufthansa-German Airlines.
Michael Steinbuegl, Manager of that station for four years, had been promoted to Key Account Manager, North America, but four Ticket Sales-Reservation positions had been rendered redundant when Lufthansa had assumed those functions, reducing the Austrian Airlines’ staff to just three members, all of whom had received limited, six-month contracts which had expired on May 15, 2010. They had subsequently been integrated into the Lufthansa operation and schedule.
The last Austrian Airlines “red presence,” whether having been created by purely Austrian Airlines or Swissport staff, had occurred on November 15, and the first floor office in Terminal One, hitherto “home” for both the Austrian Airlines and Swissport Management, Passenger Service, Centralized Load Control, Ticket Sales-Reservations, and Baggage Services/Lost and Found Departments, had been relinquished for three desks in the Lufthansa facility, two of which had been Duty Manager stations located on the main level and one of which had been the Key Account Manager position located on the lower level in the Station Operations office.
All things seem to come fully cycle. The event, effectively ending 21 years of autonomous Austrian Airlines presence, had marked the carrier’s return to its 1938 integration with Lufthansa and its 2000 ground-handling arrangement at JFK.
15. JFK Station Strengths
Throughout its 21-year presence at JFK International Airport, Austrian Airlines had handled five aircraft types–the Airbus A-310, the Airbus A-330, the Airbus A-340, the Boeing 767, and the Boeing 777; had assumed four strategies–its initial, independent operation; the Delta Air Lines code share agreement; the tri-carrier Atlantic Excellence station; and the Star Alliance integration; had operated from four JFK terminals–Terminal One, Terminal Two, Terminal Three, and the International Arrivals Building; had been handled by three companies–Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa-German Airlines, and Swissport USA; and had used two computer systems.
Because the talents and abilities of many of the staff had been channeled to produce creative and innovative accomplishments during the last chapter of its existence, JFK had notched up several strengths and successes, some of which had enabled it to play an increasingly nucleic role within North America. These achievements can be subdivided as follows:
1. The textbooks and courses had subsequently been used to duplicate this success at Austrian Airlines’ other North American stations.
2. The Centralized Load Control (CLC) Department, entailing the preparation of loading instruction/reports and load sheets for the four North American stations of Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Washington, had been highly successful and had once involved four aircraft types: the Boeing 767, the Airbus A-330, the Airbus A-340, and the Boeing 777.
3. Omar himself had often traveled to other stations in order to restructure their Baggage Services Departments.
4. The Ticket Sales-Reservations counter, under the direction of Sidonie Shields, had consistently collected significant amounts of annual revenue in ticket sales, excess baggage, and other fees.
5. The visible presence of Austrian Airlines, in red uniforms, to the passenger, whether worn by Austrian Airlines or Swissport staff.
6. The special flights, such as those carrying the Rabbi Twersky group, the American Music Abroad group, the IMTX group, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and Life Ball, the latter with its high-profile celebrities, colorful characters, and predeparture parties.
7. The special events, including “The Year in Review,” the Pennsylvania ski trips, the summer pool parties, the birthdays, the Thanksgiving dinners, and the Secret Santas at Christmas.
8. And, finally, the daily briefings, the family atmosphere, the jokes, the laughs, the raps, and the human connection which had continually emphasized the life forces behind it all.
Michael Steinbuegl, who assumed command as JFK Station Manager in September of 2005, had cultivated the environment and orchestrated the steps which had allowed every one of these strengths and accomplishments to have been made.
16. Two Decades of Elasticity
Austrian Airlines, hitherto among the smallest European airlines, had to assume a considerable degree of necessary “elasticity” during its 21 years at JFK, ebbing and flowing in the ever-changing turbulence of prevailing market conditions, seeking financial benefit, synergistic strength, market niche, alliance realignment, and ultimate change of ownership. Defying Darwinian philosophy, whose “survival of the fittest” prediction is often translated as “survival of the largest,” Austrian Airlines had, despite numerous, necessary redirections, proven the contrary, perhaps prompting a rewording of the philosophy to read, “survival of the smallest”–to which should be added, “as a global player.”
Toward this end, the latest strategy had enabled the carrier to survive. For station JFK and its staff, however, it had not.
Because I had been hired by Austrian Airlines two months before its inaugural transatlantic flight from JFK on March 26, 1989 and had held several positions there throughout its 21-year history, I had felt singularly qualified to write its story. It is, in essence, my story. It is what I lived. And what I leave…
A graduate of Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus with a summa-cum-laude BA Degree in Comparative Languages and Journalism, I have subsequently earned the Continuing Community Education Teaching Certificate from the Nassau Association for Continuing Community Education (NACCE) at Molloy College, the Travel Career Development Certificate from the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA) at LIU, and the AAS Degree in Aerospace Technology at the State University of New York – College of Technology at Farmingdale. Having amassed almost three decades in the airline industry, I managed the New York-JFK and Washington-Dulles stations at Austrian Airlines, created the North American Station Training Program, served as an Aviation Advisor to Farmingdale State University of New York, and devised and taught the Airline Management Certificate Program at the Long Island Educational Opportunity Center.
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Main article: History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit
Some of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System’s current coverage area was once served by the electrified streetcar and suburban train system called the Key System. This early twentieth century system once had regular trans-bay traffic across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. By the mid-1950s that entire system had been dismantled in favor of highway travel using automobiles and buses – given the explosive growth of expressway construction. A new rapid-transit system was proposed to take the place of the Key System during the late 1940s, and formal planning for it began in the 1950s. Some funding was secured for the BART system in 1959, and construction began a few years later. The first passenger rail service commenced on a few stretches of track in September 1972. The new BART system was hailed by some authorities as a major step forwards in subway technology.
However, questions arose concerning the safety of the BART system and the huge expenditures necessary for the construction of the BART network. Praise for the new transportation system was not unanimous at first.
Number of vehicles
Initial system cost
Equivalent cost in 2004 dollars (replacement cost)
Hourly passenger capacity
Maximum daily capacity
Average weekday ridership
Annual gross fare income
Annual profits (losses)
Rail cost/passenger mile (excluding capital costs)
A recent study shows that along with some Bay Area freeways, some of BART’s overhead structures could be extensively damaged and could potentially collapse in the event of a major earthquake, which is predicted as highly likely to happen in the Bay Area within the next 30 years. Extensive seismic retrofit will be necessary to address many of these deficiencies, although one in particular, the penetration of the Hayward Fault Zone by the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, will be left for correction after any disabling earthquake, with the consequences for in-transit trains, their operators, and their passengers left to chance.
In May 2004, BART became the first transit system in the nation to offer cellular telephone communication to passengers of all wireless carriers on its trains underground. This is in contrast to other systems in United States, which, while having some cellular telephone service, do not provide it for passengers of all the major cell phone carriers. Service was made available for customers of Verizon Wireless, Sprint/Nextel, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile in and between the four San Francisco Market Street stations from Civic Center to Embarcadero. In 2005, coverage was made available between Balboa Park and 16th St. Mission. By July 2008, the fifth cell phone network of the Bay Area, MetroPCS, was added. In December 2009, service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube, thus providing continuous cell phone coverage between West Oakland and Balboa Park. Service is planned to be added in downtown Oakland, Berkeley, and the Berkeley Hills Tunnel by the end of the third quarter 2010. Coverage is expected to be added to South San Francisco and San Bruno in 2011. The goal is to provide continuous cell phone and internet service throughout the entire BART system. Starting on February 20, 2007 BART entered into an agreement to permit a beta test of WiFi Internet access for travelers on the BART system. It initially included the four San Francisco downtown stations; Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center. To date over 30,000 patrons have utilized the service. The testing and demonstration also includes above ground testing to trains at BART’s Hayward Test Track. The testing and deployment has been extended into the underground interconnecting tubes between the four downtown stations and further. The successful demonstration and testing provided for a 10 year contract with WiFi Rail, Inc. for the services throughout the BART Right Of Way (ROW). During the months of May 2008 and July 2008 the WiFi service was expanded to include the Transbay Tube and now awaits BART cars which have the necessary WiFi equipment to benefit from the network access.
Since the mid 1990s, BART has been trying to modernize its aging 30-year-old system. The aforementioned fleet rehabilitation is part of this modernization; presently, fire alarms, water-sprinkling systems, yellow tactile platform edge domes, and cemented-mat rubber tiles are being installed. The rough black tiles on the platform edge mark the location of the doorway of approaching trains, allowing passengers to wait at the appropriate locations for the train, instead of waiting until the train arrives to figure out where to board. All faregates and ticket vending machines have also been completely replaced.
In the spring of 2007, BART experimented with a system of placed advertisement panels in the Transbay Tube, and when riders looking at the windows saw what looked to be a moving commercial for what was Reebok’s “Run Easy” campaign.
On April 10, 2007, BART General Manager Tom Margro, who has been BART chief for eleven years, announced his retirement.
In late May, 2007, BART stated its intention to improve non-peak (night and weekend) headways for each line to only 15 minutes. The current 20-minute headways at these times is viewed as a psychological barrier to ridership. June 2007, BART temporarily reversed its position stating that the shortened wait times would likely not happen due to a 0,000 state revenue budget shortfall. Nevertheless, BART eventually confirmed the implementation of the plan by January 1, 2008.
Furthermore, in June 2007, BART suddenly removed all references to implementation of the TransLink payment system from their website. BART spokesperson Marty Moran stated (via email) that TransLink now may be implemented as early as late 2007. Implementation of TransLink on BART was pushed back even further due to disputes regarding the processing of fares between MTC and BART. TransLink was planned to be rolled out simultaneously on BART, SF Muni, and Caltrain in Spring 2008,. TransLink access was rolled out in May of 2009 .
As BART celebrated the 50th anniversary of its creation by the state legislature, the organization’s management announced their plans for the next 50 years. Their vision includes adding a four-bore transbay tube beneath San Francisco Bay that would run parallel and south of the existing tunnel and emerge at the Transbay Transit Terminal to provide connecting service to Caltrain and the proposed future California High Speed Rail system. The four-bore tunnel would provide two tunnels for BART and two tunnels for conventional/high-speed rail. BART’s plan focus is on improving service and reliability in its core system (where density and ridership is highest), rather than extensions into far-flung suburbia. These plans include: a line that would continue from the Transbay Terminal through the South-of-Market, northwards on Van Ness and terminating in western San Francisco along the Geary corridor, the Presidio, or North Beach; a line along the Interstate Highway 680 corridor; and a fourth set of rail tracks through Oakland.
Numerous rail service changes were implemented beginning on January 1, 2008. Among the changes, the trains on the Pittsburg / Bay Point line extended their service to the San Francisco-Oakland airport (SFO airport) station (at all hours of operation), but they did not continue to the end of the line at Millbrae. (Only a very few late-night Pittsburg / Bay Point trains continued on to Millbrae after stopping at the SFO airport station). During weekdays (until 7:00 pm), the trains on the Richmond line continued on to the Millbrae station, but bypassed the SFO airport station; during weeknights and weekends, trains on the Dublin / Pleasanton line continued to Millbrae, but also bypassed the SFO airport station). All of this meant that there would no longer be a direct train connection between the SFO airport and Millbrae, inconveniencing “Caltrain” passengers who wished to travel to the SFO airport. The BART management discontinued this direct rail connection, citing low ridership between Millbrae and the SFO airport. However, they did implement timed transfers at the San Bruno station for passengers who were traveling from the SFO airport to Millbrae.
With continuing budget constraints, it was necessary for BART to cut back on service beyond Daly City. As of September 14, 2009, the following changes have taken place: The Pittsburg/Bay Point line will still terminate at SFO on weekdays until 7:00 pm. After 7:00 pm, and all day on weekends and holidays, service will extend to Millbrae. The Dublin / Pleasanton line will no longer serve the extension, instead terminating at Daly City Station.
In 2008, BART announced that it would install solar power systems on the roofs of its train yards and maintenance facilities in Richmond and Hayward in addition to car ports with rooftop solar panels at its Orinda station. The board lamented not being able to install them at all stations but it stated that Orinda was the only station with enough sun for them to make money from the project.
A photo of the third rails used on the BART system. Note how the third rail changes location relative to the train upon entering the station and the crossover walkway crossing the trackway. Note the walkway on the left side of the trackway in the distance, which is the emergency walkway for the aerial trackway leading into the Daly City station again, the third rail positioned opposite of this walkway.
BART comprises 104 miles (167 km) of track and 43 stations. The system uses a controversial 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad rail gauge, as opposed to the 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge predominantly found in railroad systems in the United States. This is the only transit system in the United States using this gauge. The cars are wider than standard transit equipment, but as wide as standard gauge North American passenger cars. The down side is that all maintenance and support equipment must be custom built. Trains can achieve a centrally-controlled maximum speed of 80 mph (130 km/h) and provide a system-wide average speed of 33 mph (53 km/h) with twenty-second station stopping times (dwell times). Trains operate at a minimum length of three cars per California Public Utilities Commission guidelines to a maximum length of 10 cars, spanning the entire 700 feet (213 m) length of a platform. At its maximum length of 710 feet (216 m), BART has the longest train length of any metrorail system in the United States. The system also features car widths of 10.5 feet (3.2 m) (the same width as an Amtrak Metroliner), a maximum gradient of four percent, and a minimum curve radius of 394 feet (120 m) on the main lines .
Electric current is delivered to the trains over a third rail, the position of which alternates relative to the context of the train. Inside stations, the third rail is always on the side furthest away from the passenger platforms. This design feature eliminates the danger of a passenger either falling directly on the third rail, or stepping onto it to climb back to the platform should they fall off. On ground-level trackways, the third rail alternates from one side of the track to the other, providing breaks in the third rail to allow for emergency evacuations across trackways.
Underground tunnels, aerial structures and the Transbay Tube have evacuation walkways and passageways to allow for train evacuation without exposing passengers to easy, inadvertent contact with the third rail, which is located as far away from these walkways as possible. The voltage on the steel third rail is 1000 Volts DC, so there are notices throughout the system warning passengers of its danger. In addition, BART posts notices inside each train car warning of the third rail and the four paddle-like rail contact shoes protruding from the underside of each car by the rail wheel trucks. Other third-rail powered metro systems in the US utilize a lower voltage.
Many of the original system 1970s-era BART stations, especially the aerial stations, feature simple, Brutalist architecture.
Ridership records have been set during large scale regional-in-scope events such as the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. The records included a Sunday record of 224,500 that coincided with an Oakland A’s baseball game and a weekday record of 405,400 set on September 8, 2008, when both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Raiders had home games. The one week record for ridership was 2,317,800 between June 23 and June 29, 2008. This broke the previous all time high of 2,301,800 achieved during a closure of the Bay Bridge. BART set an absolute one-day record of 442,000 rides on Thursday, October 29, 2009, following the closure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge due to the failure of a structural repair.
Problems with Segways on BART
After several high-profile incidents involving Segways, including an incident where a Segway was run over by a train after falling onto the tracks, BART banned them for 45 days until they could regroup and set up a plan to mediate the issue. The consensus reached was the institution of rules similar to bicycles where the Segways would be disallowed during commute hours, except for disabled persons and that the devices could not be on or ridden past the fare gates similar to the rules for all wheeled devices such as skateboards and scooters. Furthermore a permitting system has been established requiring registration for them to be used on the system.
All routes pass through the city of Oakland, and all but the Richmond Fremont route pass through the Transbay Tube into San Francisco and beyond to Daly City. Most segments of the BART system carry trains of more than one route.
Trains regularly operate on five routes. Unlike most other rapid transit and rail systems around the world, BART lines are generally not referred to by shorthand designations. Although the lines have been colored consistently on BART system maps for more than a decade, they are only occasionally referred to officially by color names, and only rarely referred to in this way by members of the public (e.g., the “Red Line”).
Instead, the five BART lines are generally identified on maps and schedules by the names of their termini:
Fremont Daly City, following a former Western Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Fremont to Oakland, operates Mondays through Saturdays daytime to early evening.
Dublin/Pleasanton Daly City, following Interstate-580 via Castro Valley to San Leandro, where it meets the Fremont-Richmond line, continuing into San Francisco.
Pittsburg/Bay Point SFO/Millbrae, following SR 4, a former Sacramento Northern Railway right-of way, and SR 24 from Bay Point to Oakland, and extending beyond Daly City to San Francisco International Airport. On weeknights and weekends, this line turns around at the airport to continue on to Millbrae.
Richmond Daly City/Millbrae, following a former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway right-of-way from Richmond to Berkeley, and extending beyond Daly City to Millbrae on weekdays daytime to early evening. On Saturdays, this line operates to Daly City only.
Richmond Fremont, coinciding with the Richmond Millbrae line and the Fremont Daly City line between their termini and Oakland, and operates daily.
The line from San Francisco through Daly City to Millbrae follows a former Southern Pacific railroad right-of-way, which is also served by Caltrain beyond San Bruno.
Hours of operation
The BART system consists of five lines, but most of the network consists of more than one line on the same track. Trains on each line historically ran every fifteen minutes on weekdays and twenty minutes during the evenings, weekends and holidays; however, since a given station might be served by as many as four lines, it could have service as frequently as every three to four minutes. However the system is closed for four hours every night for maintenance, reopening at 4:00 AM each morning, except for Sundays.
As of January 1, 2008, service on every line is at 15-minute intervals except for Saturdays between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., when service is at 20-minute intervals. Also, as of January 1, 2008, BART service begins around 4:00 a.m. on weekdays, 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. Service ends every day near midnight with station closings timed to the last train at station. Two of the five lines, the Millbraeichmond and SF/Daly Cityremont lines, do not have night (after 7 p.m.) or Sunday service, but all stations remain accessible by transfer from the other lines. All-Nighter Network service is available when BART is closed. All but six BART stations are served (as well as eight Caltrain stations). BART tickets are not accepted on these buses, and each of the four bus systems charge their own fare, which can be up to .50; a four-system ride can cost as much as .50 as of 2007.
Ticket vending machines at the Powell Street Station
Fares on BART are comparable to those of commuter rail systems and are higher than those of most metros, especially for long trips. The fare is based on a formula that takes into account both the length and speed of the trip. A surcharge is added for trips traveling through the Transbay Tube, to San Francisco International Airport, or through San Mateo County, which is not a BART member. Historically and up until only recently, passengers have used refillable paper-plastic-composite tickets, on which fares are stored via a magnetic strip, to enter and exit the system (a similar magnetic strip ticketing system is used on the Washington Metro in Washington, D.C). The exit faregate prints the remaining balance on the ticket each time the passenger exits the station. A paper ticket can be refilled at a ticket machine, the remaining balance on any ticket can be applied towards the purchase of a new one, or a card is simply captured by the exit gate when the balance reaches zero; multiple low value cards can be combined to create a larger value card, but only at specific ticket exchange locations which are located at some BART stations. BART relies on unused ticket values, particularly of patrons discarding low-value cards, as a source of revenue, approximated by some to be as high as .9 million.
A standard-fare BART ticket. Notice the initial purchased fare printed parallel to the magnetic strip, and the card’s remaining balance printed on the left, updated upon each exit. Images of older tickets, a blue, new-style ticket, and other color tickets can be found here.
A stored-value smart card fare system, called the TransLink smart card, was rolled out in the fall of 2009. This program was launched to the public in fall 2006 with rollout on AC Transit, Dumbarton Express, and Golden Gate Transit lines. BART previously promoted the EZ Rider card, a pilot program using technology similar in design to the TransLink cards. Both are contactless smart cards, and contain stored value that can be used for fare payments. BART contracted with Cubic Transportation Systems to replace all the faregates with ones that have smart card readers inherently installed. The EZ Rider program is expected to last until September 2010.
The BART minimum fare of .75 is charged for trips under 6 miles (9.7 km), such as a trip between two adjacent Berkeley stations. The maximum one-way fare including all possible surcharges is .90, the 51 miles (82 km) journey between Pittsburg/Bay Point and San Francisco International Airport. The farthest possible trip, from Pittsburg/Bay Point to Millbrae, costs less because of the additional charge added to airport trips. Passengers without sufficient fare to complete their journey must use an AddFare machine to pay the remaining balance in order to exit the station. Because of the amount of the base fare, traveling between BART stations in downtown San Francisco on BART costs 25 cents less than it does to ride the city’s own light rail system, the MUNI Metro, which is generally slower in covering the same distance. However, MUNI permits around two full hours of riding, including transfers to other MUNI vehicles, whereas BART charges .75 for a single journey. There are various quirks in the fare system due to a subsidy being provided to riders traveling between some outlying stations. For example, for a trip from Dublin/Pleasanton to Fremont, it is less expensive to exit the station at the transfer point, Bay Fair, and re-enter the station, instead of staying on the platform, because you would get charged two .75 base fares instead of a .35 fare from end to end.
BART uses a system of five different color-coded tickets for regular fare, special fare, and discount fare to select groups as follows:
Blue tickets General: the most common type, includes high-value discount tickets
Red tickets Disabled Persons and children aged 4 to 12: 62.5% discount, special ID required (children under the age of 4 ride free)
Green tickets Seniors age 65 or over: 62.5% discount, proof of age required for purchase
Orange tickets Student: special, restricted-use 50% discount ticket for students age 13-18 currently enrolled in high or middle school
BART Plus special high-value ticket with ‘flash-pass’ privileges with regional transit agencies, including MUNI’s buses.
EZ Rider A new plastic smart card fare program that will eventually be replaced by the TransLink Phase II Program
EZ Rider Fare Card
Unlike most transit systems in the United States, BART does not have an unlimited ride pass available and riders must pay for each ride they take. The only discount provided to the public is a 6.25% discount when “high value tickets” are purchased with fare values of and , for prices of and respectively. Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor & San Joaquins trains sell BART tickets on-board in the caf cars for only , resulting in a 20% discount. A 62.5% discount is provided to seniors, the disabled, and children age 5 to 12. Middle and high school students 13 to 18 may obtain a 50% discount if their school participates in the BART program; however, these tickets are intended to be used only between the students’ home station and the school’s station and for transportation to and from school events. However, these intended limitations are not enforced in any way and students are expected to behave on the honor system. The tickets are only usable on weekdays, a restriction that is enforced by the fare gates. BART Plus tickets enjoy a last-ride bonus where if the remaining value is greater than $.05, the ticket can be used one last time for a trip of any distance. Most special discounted tickets must be purchased at selected vendors and not at ticket machines. The Bart Plus tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines. In particular, the middle and high school tickets are usually sold at the schools themselves.
Family members of BART employees receive special BART passes and can ride free-of-charge upon showing their pass and photo identification to the BART station attendant. Employees of airlines that take BART to work at San Francisco International Airport receive a fare discount of 25%, but non-airline employees who do the same receive no discount.
Ticket gates with the orange triangular doors retracted for a Spare the Air Day
Fares are enforced by the station agent, who monitors activity at the fare gates adjacent to the window and at other fare gates through closed circuit television and faregate status screens located in the agent’s booth. All stations are staffed with at least one agent at all times. Despite this, fare fraud occasionally occurs, usually as a result of people entering and exiting through the emergency exit gate, which are permitted for non-emergency use by passengers with bikes, in wheelchairs, and carrying luggage. It also occurs using elevators, which in some stations lead from the ticketed area to the unticketed area.
There is little fare coordination between BART and surrounding agencies. Some agencies accept the BART Plus pass, which at a fee of between and per month, permits pass holders to use BART and connecting buses. Most notably, AC Transit dropped out of the program due to the small amount of reimbursement they received from BART. Another fare coordination program permits adult monthly pass holders of the San Francisco Municipal Railway to ride BART trains within the city of San Francisco for free (with no credit applied to trips outside the city). The city of San Francisco pays BART $.87 for each trip taken under this arrangement. For riders who do not hold such passes, there is generally only a token discount ($.25 to $.50) provided to passengers transferring to and from trains to other transit modes. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority does honor BART transfers for a local fare credit ($.50 to .75) towards the 120, 140, 180 and 181 trans-county express lines departing the Fremont BART station, but all riders are required to disembark in Santa Clara County. There is no credit applied when traveling towards the Fremont BART Station.
Proposals to simplify the fare structure abound. At one extreme, a flat fare that disregards distance has been proposed by BART director Joel Keller. The lesser extreme involves the implementation of a simplified structure that would create fare bands or zones. The implementation of either scheme would demote the use of distance-based fares and shift the fare-box recovery burden to the urban riders in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley and away from the suburban riders of East Contra Costa, Southern Alameda, and San Mateo Counties, where density is lowest, and consequently, operational cost is highest.
AC Transit bus stop at Bay Fair Station
BART has direct connections to two regional rail services Caltrain, which provides service between San Francisco, San Jose, and Gilroy, at the Millbrae Station, and Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor, which runs from Sacramento to San Jose, at the Richmond and Coliseum/Oakland Airport stations. A third Capitol Corridor connection at the Union City station is planned as part of a larger Dumbarton Rail Corridor Project to connect Union City, Fremont, and Newark to various peninsula destinations via the Dumbarton rail bridge. BART is the managing agency for the Capitol Corridor until 2010.
BART connects to San Francisco’s local light rail system, the Muni Metro. The upper track level of BART’s Market Street subway, originally designed for the lines to Marin County, was turned over to Muni and both agencies share the Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, Powell and Civic Center stations. Some Muni Metro lines connect with (or pass nearby) the BART system at the Balboa Park and Glen Park stations.
Other services connect to BART including the Emery Go Round (Emeryville), WestCAT (north-western Contra Costa County), Benicia Transit (Benicia), Union City Transit (Union City), and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA, in Silicon Valley).
BART hosts carsharing locations at many stations, a program pioneered by City CarShare. Riders can transfer from BART and complete their journeys by car. BART has started to offer long-term airport parking through a third-party vendor at most East Bay stations. Travelers must make an on-line reservation in advance and pay the daily fee of before they can leave their cars at the BART parking lot.
Casual carpools have formed at North Berkeley station and the area around El Cerrito Del Norte station. The lots are convenient since most carpoolers use public transit back to their final destination. However, because of how BART charges for parking, passengers cannot park at most BART lots without paying a fare.
Connecting services via bus
A number of bus transit services connect to BART, which, while managed by separate agencies, are integral to the successful functioning of the system. The primary providers include the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit), San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection), and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Golden Gate Transit). Until 1997, BART ran its own “BART Express” connector buses, which ran to eastern Alameda County and far eastern and western areas of Contra Costa County; these routes were later devolved to sub-regional transit agencies such as Tri-Delta Transit and the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (WHEELS) or, in the case of Dublin/Pleasanton service, replaced by a full BART extension.
BART is connected to Oakland International Airport via AirBART shuttle buses, which bring travelers to and from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. These buses are operated by BART and accept exact-change BART fare cards in addition to exact change. BART also connects to the San Francisco International Airport, though in this case the train actually enters the airport directly and no shuttle is necessary, although connections are available to AirTrain for those not departing or arriving from the international terminal.
The bus service connecting the University of California, Berkeley to the Berkeley BART station was once called Humphrey Go-BART, a spoonerism of the famous actor and director Humphrey Bogart. It has since been replaced by a number of regular AC Transit bus routes and shuttle bus routes operated by the university.
Organization and management
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District is a special governmental agency created by the State of California consisting of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City and County of San Francisco. San Mateo County, which hosts six BART stations, is not part of the BART District. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors with each of the nine directors representing a specific geographic area within the BART district. BART has its own police force.
While the district includes all of the cities and communities in its jurisdiction, some of these cities do not have stations on the BART system. This has caused tensions among property owners in cities like Livermore who pay BART taxes but must travel outside the city to receive BART service. In areas like Fremont, the majority of commuters do not commute in the direction that BART would take them (many Fremonters commute to San Jose, where there is currently no BART service). This would be alleviated with the completion of a BART-to-San Jose extension project.
However, some cities and towns are near enough to cities with BART stations that residents commute via a bus or car to the nearest BART station. Emeryville, for instance, has no BART service, but has a free shuttle service, the Emery-Go-Round, that takes passengers to the nearby MacArthur station in Oakland. Similarly, Albany does not have a BART station of its own. The city’s residents can go to either North Berkeley (in Alameda County) or El Cerrito Plaza (in Contra Costa County) stations for services. For those wishing to drive their cars to the stations instead, many BART stations offer many kinds of parking options.
In 2005, BART required nearly 0 million in funds after fares. About 37% of the costs went to maintenance, 29% to actual transportation operations, 24% to general administration, 8% to police services, and 4% to construction and engineering. In 2005, 53% of the budget was derived from fares, 32% from taxes, and 15% from other sources, including advertising, station retail space leasing, and parking fees. BART’s farebox recovery ratio of 53% is relatively high for a U.S. public transit agency operating over such long distances with high frequency (for comparison, see the article on farebox recovery).
196? – 1975
1975 – 1978
Frank C. Herringer
1979 – 1988
1989 – 1994
1994 – 1996
Richard A. White
1996 – 2007
2007 – Present
1972 – 2004
2004 – present
A refurbished A car interior with carpeted flooring.
Interior of a C1 car with an upgraded spray-on composite flooring.
The interior of a C2 car with carpeted flooring. A flip-up seat is visible on the left.
A Demonstration Car (modified C2 car) interior with blue vinyl flooring. This car has a designated Bike Space in the area normally reserved for passengers in wheelchairs; the front-facing seat on the left-hand side of the car has been removed to accommodate passengers with bicycles, in turn, the aisle-facing seat on the right-hand side near the operator’s cab has been removed to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs. This car also has hand straps, unlike the other BART train cars.
BART operates four types of cars, built from three separate orders, totaling 669 cars.
To run a typical peak morning commute, BART requires 579 cars. Of those, 541 are scheduled to be in active service; the other 38 are used to build up four spare trains (essential for maintaining on-time service). At any one time, the remaining 90 cars are in for repair, maintenance, or some type of planned modification work.
The A cars and the B cars were built from 1968 to 1971 by Rohr Industries, an aerospace manufacturing company which had only recently made its foray into mass-transit equipment manufacturing, touting yet untested space-age design techniques. The A cars were designed as leading or trailing cars only, with a fiberglass operator’s cab housing train control equipment and BART’s two-way communication system. The A cars are distinguished by their aerodynamic leading edge extending 5 feet (1.52 m) longer than their B- and C-car siblings. A cars can comfortably seat 72 passengers, and under crush load, 150 passengers. B cars have no operator’s cab and are used in the middle of trains to carry passengers only; B cars have the same passenger capacity as A cars. Currently, BART operates 59 A cars and 380 B cars. BART’s livery has remained effectively unchanged throughout its history.
The C cars were built by Alstom between 1987 and 1989. The C cars have a similar fiberglass operator’s cab and control and communications equipment as the A cars, but unlike A cars, do not have the aerodynamic nose design, thus allowing them to be used as middle cars as well. The dual purpose of the C cars allows faster train-size changes without having to move the train to a switching yard. C cars can comfortably seat 64 (4 seats were lost compared to the A/B cars by eliminating one row of seats to accommodate the operator cab and 4 additional seats were lost by eliminating one pair of seats next to the left-side forward door on each side to provide space for wheelchairs) and under crush load accommodate 150 passengers. The latest order, from Morrison-Knudsen (now Washington Group International), was for C2 cars, which are essentially the same as C cars, but feature an updated, third-generation interior with a blue/gray motif, in contrast to the previous blue and brown colors. The CCTV cameras on C2 cars are also triangular in shape when compared to the rectangular shape of the camera on a C1 car. C2 cars have flip-up seats near the left-side forward door to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs, and red lights on posts near the door to warn the hearing-impaired when the doors are about to close. C2 cars can comfortably seat 68 passengers (including the flip-up seats), and under crush load can carry 150 passengers. Since the purchase of C2s, the original C cars are also referred to as C1 cars. Currently, BART operates 150 C1 cars and 80 C2 cars.
In 1995, BART contracted with ADtranz (acquired by Bombardier Transportation in 2001) to refurbish and overhaul the 439 original Rohr A- and B-cars, updating the old vintage brown fabric seats to the less-toxic and easier-to-clean, light-blue polyurethane seats in use today and bringing the cars in general to the same level of interior amenities as the C2 fleet. The Rohr cars were also rebuilt with ADtranz 3-phase Alternating Current (AC) traction motors with IGBT inverters, model 1507C. The seven-year project was completed in 2002. All BART cars have upholstered seats and nearly all cars have carpeting except for some C1 and/or C2 cars. Because one of the original design goals was for all BART riders to be seated, the older cars have fewer provisions such as grab bars for standing passengers. Flip-up seats (found in C2 cars) were excluded from the refurbishment (reducing seating capacity from 72 to 68), in order to provide designated areas for luggage, wheelchairs and bicycles. Consequently, the original C (or C1) cars have the oldest interior design, as they have not been refurbished and were not purchased recently enough to have the “newer” convenience features; for example, they lack vertical grab bars in the middle of the car and do not have the in-post red lights to warn of closing doors. However, the carpeted flooring in most of the C1 cars was replaced with an experimental spray-on composite flooring after passengers complained that the cars were unclean.
The A, B, and C cars were all given 3-digit numbers originally, but when refurbished 1000 was added to the number of each individual A/B car (e.g. car 633 would become 1633). The C2 cars are numbered in the 2500 series; the C/C1 cars still have 3-digit numbers.
Prior to rebuilding, the Direct Current (DC) traction motors used on the 439 Rohr BART cars were built by Westinghouse, the same company that also built the automatic train control system for BART. The Westinghouse traction motors are model 1463 with chopper controls. The Westinghouse DC motors are still in use on the Alstom C (C1) and Morrison-Knudsen C2 cars. The motors that were pulled from the Rohr cars during rehabilitation were retained as spare motors for use on the C1 and C2 cars. Other undercar systems also built by Westinghouse on the 439 Rohr BART cars before rehabilitation were the auxiliary power box, the hydraulic pumps for the brakes, the air suspension, and the brake control systems (which were part of the propulsion logic cradle that was mounted in the chopper control semiconductor box). The HVAC system on the Rohr BART cars before rehabilitation were built by Thermo King, when it was a subsidiary of Westinghouse (Thermo King is now a subsidiary of Ingersoll-Rand). The current HVAC systems on the rehabbed Rohr-built Gen 1 cars were built by Westcode.
Comparison with other rail transit systems
Main article: Rapid Transit
BART, like other transit systems of the same era, endeavored to connect outlying suburbs with job centers in Oakland and San Francisco by building out lines that paralleled established commute routes of the region’s freeway system. The majority of BART’s service area, as measured by percentage of system length, consists of low-density suburbs. Unlike the New York City Subway or the London Underground, individual BART lines were not designed to provide frequent local service, as evidenced by the system’s current maximum achievable headway of 13.33 minutes per line through the quadruple interlined section. Muni provides local light-rail and subway service within San Francisco city limits and runs with smaller headways than does BART. BART could in many ways be characterized as a “commuter subway,” since it has many characteristics of a commuter rail system, including lengthy lines that extend to the far reaches of suburbia with significant distances between most adjacent stations. However, in the urban areas of San Francisco and downtown Oakland, multiple lines converge, and BART takes on the characteristics of an urban subway, including short headways and transfer opportunities to other lines.
BART could be considered to be more similar to a regional commuter rail service, such as the Berlin S-Bahn or the Paris RER. However, BART also possesses all the qualities and services of a metro system, including electrified third-rail propulsion, exclusive grade-separated right-of-way, frequent headways in its urban service areas, and pre-paid fare card access. Urban stations are as close as one-half mile (800 m) apart and have combined two and one-half to five-minute service intervals at peak times. These factors contribute to the consideration of BART as a hybrid metro-commuter system, functioning as a metrorail system in the central business districts of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, and as commuter rail in the region’s suburban areas.
A computer graphics rendering of what the new BART car will look like.
To speed up service, BART is preparing to introduce new, three-door cars. BART plans to start purchasing new cars in 2010, when it will have paid off other capital debt for track and car work, with the first 10 pilot cars arriving for testing in 2014. The order will consist of 200 base cars with two additional option orders of 250 cars each for a total of 700 cars to completely replace the original fleet. All 700 cars are to arrive by 2024. There are also two additional options, one for general fleet expansion, and the other for the San Jose extension, with 150 cars each. If all options are exercised, the total number of new BART cars will be 1000 cars.
Future expansion and extension
Main article: Bay Area Rapid Transit expansion
Expansion projects for the Bay Area Rapid Transit have existed ever since the opening of the project. These projects include the Warm Springs extension, the San Jose extension, the Oakland Airport Connector, eBART, ‘tBART’: I-580/Tri-Valley Corridor, ‘wBART’: I-80/West Contra Costa Corridor, and numerous infill stations along the route.
San Francisco Bay Area portal
List of Bay Area Rapid Transit stations
List of rapid transit systems
List of United States rapid transit systems by ridership
List of California railroads
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^ See BART Composite Report, prepared by Parsons Brinkerhof Tutor Bechtel, 1962
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^ "TransLink where can I use TransLink?". TransLink. http://www.translink.org/whereCanIuseTranslink.do. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
^ "Press Release: Cubic Receives Million Contract to Link BART To San Francisco Bay Area's Regional Smart Card Program". Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. 2004-02-24. http://www.cubic.com/cts/PressReleases/Feb24-2004.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
^ "QuickPlanner >> Results between Downtown Berkeley and North Berkeley". BART. http://bart.gov/stations/quickplanner/schedule.asp?origin=BRK&format=quick&destination=NBRK&trip_mode=undefined&time_mode=departs&depart_month=6&depart_date=12&return_page=/index.asp&depart_time=2:30+PM&new=yes&dhtml=true. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
^ "QuickPlanner >> Results between Pittsburg/Bay Point and SFO". BART. http://bart.gov/stations/quickplanner/schedule.asp?origin=BAYPT&format=quick&destination=SFIA&trip_mode=undefined&time_mode=departs&depart_month=12&depart_date=5&return_page=/index.asp&depart_time=2:30+PM&new=yes&dhtml=true. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
^ "Myths, gods, and titanic disasters: How servers really get their names". IT World. http://www.itworld.com/offbeat/63716/myths-gods-and-titanic-disasters-how-servers-really-get-their-names?page=0,3. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ "BART's Livermore role reviewed". Contra Costa Times. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CC&s_site=contracostatimes&p_multi=CC&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=1064A15771213A81&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ ""Why can't the trains be longer?" Some background to explain". BART. 2008-09-25. http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2008/news20080924a.aspx. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ "FY08 Short Range Transit Plan and Capital Improvement Program" (PDF). BART. September 2007. http://www.bart.gov/docs/FINAL_FY08_SRTP_CIP.pdf. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
^ "BART Car ills". San Jose Mercury News. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SJ&s_site=mercurynews&p_multi=SJ&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB731C25CCAA9D1&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ "BART Renovation Program Nearing Completion". Business Wire. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-26087660_ITM. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ W. S. Homburger. "The impact of a new rapid transit system on traffic on parallel highway facilities". 1029-0354, Volume 4, Issue 3 (Transportation Planning and Technology). http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ftinterface?content=a773502237&rt=0&format=pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
^ "Glossary of Transit Terminology". American Public Transportation Association. http://www.apta.com/research/info/online/glossary.cfm. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
^ "Passenger Rail Issues". East Bay Bicycle Coalition. http://www.ebbc.org/rail/sjx.html. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
^ "Rapid transit". Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapid transit. Retrieved 2008-02-27. ; "Metro". International Association of Public Transport. http://www.uitp.org/Public-Transport/metro/index.cfm. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
^ "BART plans on .4B for new cars". ABC News. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=resources/traffic&id=6800819. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ "Official BART information on new car purchase project". BART. http://bart.gov/about/projects/cars/index.aspx. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
^ "BART opens bids on project, moves a step closer to Silicon Valley". Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2009/03/09/newscolumn1.html?b=1236571200^1789847. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
BART: a study of problems of rail transit. California. Legislature. Assembly. Committee on Transportation. 1973.
Richard Grefe (1976). A history of the key decisions in the development of Bay Area Rapid Transit. National Technical Information Service.
E. Gareth Hoachlander (1976). Bay Area Rapid Transit: who pays and who benefits?. University of California.
Owen, Wilfred (1966). The metropolitan transportation problem. Anchor Books.
Cervero, Robert (1998). The transit metropolis: a global inquiry. Island Press. ISBN 1559635916.
University of California (1966). The San Francisco Bay area: its problems and future, Volume 2. University of California.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: BART
BART - official website
Engineering Geology of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, 1964-75
BART Map/Schedule Map/Schedule using Google Maps API
BART widget, a self-contained trip planner for Mac OS X Dashboard
BARTsmart Another BART Widget, featuring BART schedules and news
Map of BART and rail network in simplified diagrammatic, rather than geographically accurate
iSubwayMaps.com iPod, alternative predating official BART offering (map only)
Typographica BART Wayfinding October 8, 2005 article about typography of BART signage
Shuttles serving BART stations at 511.org
Pictures of BART on world.nycsubway.org
Network map (real-distance)
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Find more about Tongue And Groove Composite Decking
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Hidden Fasteners for Composite Decks: are They Worth It?
More and more homeowners today are choosing to have their composite decks built with hidden fasteners. With hidden fasteners a composite deck can be built without using unsightly screws or nails. But are hidden fasteners worth the added expense, and extra labor, needed to install them? Our company sells a large amount of Evergrain brand composite decking every year. At the point of sale each customer is afforded an opportunity to purchase either screws, or hidden fasteners, to attach their decking. In spite of the fact that we sell the lowest priced hidden fasteners available, and the only ones that are made for specifically for composite decking, over half of our customers purchase screws. When asked why, the answers are almost always the same: hidden fasteners are either too expensive, too time consuming to install, or both. But let’s look at those responses in their proper context.
How many homeowners would be satisfied to have the screws visible in the drywall of their homes? How many houses do you find with the siding “face-nailed”? Or, how many wood floors have the screws or nails out in plain view? Imagine how much money could be saved if the drywall installer did not take the time to hide the screws. The siding on a house would be much stronger, and easier to install, if it were faced-nailed. And, wood floors could be installed for much less money if the boards were not all tongue-and-groove. People go to a lot of trouble, and expense, to insure that the fasteners on these surfaces are not visible. They expect that these fasteners will be hidden. But when it comes to decking the story seems to change.
It seems that many people expect to see the fasteners on their deck. They expect it because that is the way decking has always been installed. But things are changing quickly. More and more people are realizing that their new composite deck does not have to have exposed screws or nails. And that the added expense of hiding the fasteners is worth every penny. The reasons are obvious to anyone who has ever seen a composite deck built with high quality hidden fasteners. In fact, in the not too distant future, it is likely that hidden fasteners will be the rule, not the exception, for composite deck construction.
There are many types of hidden fasteners available. Most will fall into one of three general categories: those that require a biscuit joint, or groove, in the side of the decking, those that use prongs driven into the sides of the decking or those that use brackets attached to the sides of the joists. A unique hidden fastener made specifically for composite decking is the Aphano hidden fastener. Like any product, the advantages, and disadvantages, of each particular item must be carefully considered. But when it comes time to build a composite deck, hidden fasteners should be considered as a very viable option.
Jeff Van Fleet works for largest fence/deck contractor in the state of Montana. He is the leader of the Aphano hidden fastener project. Aphano fasteners are the only hidden deck fasteners designed for the unique characteristics of composite decking.
Tongue And Groove Composite Decking video and photo
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Bison Deck Supports are utilized when installing an upscale residential terrace at The New American Home 2009 in Las Vegas, NV. Watch a three-minute video of the installation. This deck overlooks expansive views of the desert landscape and features a beautiful granite stone tile surface. View project profile at www.BisonDeckSupports.com.
Find more about Composite Decking Price Comparison
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What Kind Of Decking Material Do You Like? – Get Composite Decking
Decking material includes just about everything you can think of that could be used for a deck. Composite decking is a type of decking that is made from a combination of wood fibers or sawdust and plastic. If you prefer to use traditional lumber, 2 X 6 is the most common lumber used, but you can also get hardwood decking, such as Ipe, cedar and redwood. In the line of wood decking material, you can get #1 and #2. # 1 lumber is kiln-dried to help prevent warping, cupping and checking. #2 lumber is considered green or wet.
If you are not sure about the new composite decking material that you have heard so much about, just visit one of your local decking retailers to see what it looks like. You can also do a search online and do a comparison of composite decking material and the traditional wood for decking. You can also compare the manufacturers of this decking material to find the best product for your needs at the best price. Some of the popular manufacturers of composite decking include Trex, Choice Dek, Weatherbest, Eon, Ipe and GeoDeck.
The invention of composite decking material has reduced the amount of work that homeowners have with building and maintaining a deck around their homes. There are various types of decking material that will last for years and with which you have very low maintenance to keep it looking just as new as the day you installed it. When you do a comparison of composite decking materials, you will find that when you have a deck made of this material, the only work you will ever have to do with it is to hose it down for cleaning. No more painting, scraping or repairing rotten boards in the decking in the spring. Composite material is well able to withstand the elements of the weather.
A comparison of composite decking material also means you have to look at the prices of each brand. Some of the manufacturers have tile decking that just snaps together. Some of these tiles come in a hardwood pattern and by rotating them you can create an interesting decking design. All of the composite decking materials are colored through so there is very little if any fading. This decking material is also slip-resistant and the water drains through the mesh base.
Take a good look at the many types of decking material on the market when you want to install a new deck. Whether you choose to use composite decking material or not, you will have to build a wooden frame. All the instructions you need for installing the composite boards or tiles are included in the packages and you can easily complete a typical deck in a few hours. Why bother with decking material that you have to paint or stain, when you can use composite decking and then sit back and enjoy it?
Find out more about Decking. Visit Peter’s Website The Decking Guide and find out about Composite Decking and more, including Wood, IPE, and Pool Decking.
Composite Decking Price Comparison video and photo
veluxusa | News Release VELUX® America Inc. is introducing a totally redesigned skylight product line which will be shown for the first time at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas in January 2010. Major upgrades include advanced energy efficient glass and added protection against water penetration. A no leak product warranty is included, as is an industry-first installation warranty for deck mounted skylights. The VELUX deck mounted product family is now designated The No Leak Skylight. It carries the new 10-year installation warranty plus 20 years on glass, 10 years on skylights, and five years on blinds and controls. Features include a third layer of water protection advanced LoE3 glass for better energy efficiency, higher visible light transmittance, and improved solar heat gain performance pre-painted frames and sashes to eliminate the need for secondary high-cost trips by a painter pre-mounted brackets for quick installation of sunscreen blinds lower roof profile with an updated curved architectural design and a neutral gray color, preferred by consumers and builders, to blend with most roof materials and colors.
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