I have been taking Bart back and forth for about one month and also snapping a few cellphone shots here and there while waiting around. One problem I have with taking Bart is the many schedule points that have to be followed for the many stations and transfers. I cannot adjust all of my activities to fit a fixed schedule so Bart can be taken conveniently. I have thrown out my unfinished coffee too many times right before getting into Bart to make sure I won’t miss the right train. The other day when I was taking the last sips from a cup of coffee I noticed that if (it pays to look around and take snapshots of places we are in) I look up at the curving Bart overpass I can see the LED sign from outside of the Bart station and the wait for the train was only 23 minutes. That gave me ample time to finish my coffee and also made me wonder how come those LED signs are ONLY available on the Bart platforms.
Bart has always been a very expensive and annoying form of transportation with the many limits of its service and all their strikes. That makes one wonder if they cannot go beyond the very basics of offering transportation? If those arrival and departure signs were available upstairs and downstairs of Bart stations, Bart could become a dandy form of transportation by allowing riders to allocate the wait time between off-platform and on-platform waiting. That would actually make Bart stations a hub of food and drink activities because the passengers could manage their wait time carefully without risk and enter the boring platform only a few minutes before the train would arrive. I think this will be a great promotion for the public to like Bart and will give birth to hundreds of food and drink vendors (and who knows what else) at the exteriors of Bart stations to cater the many hundreds of thousands that use the service daily.
And all it may take (besides issuing permits to everyone) is dispersing the arrival and departure signs all over the place (and not being stingy with them to keep them only on the platforms) and even outside the stations. Bart has much potential (as Ferry Building in San Francisco had and does) by its location and much economic activity can be fostered if the public are assisted in managing the time at the Bart Marketplaces (that does not exist today) and the on-platform waste-of-time waiting. One may say the same can be done in all transportation hubs by helping the public manage their time to catch the transportation. The advantage will be more economic activity and a happier passenger base. Public transportation will receive a huge lift versus the personal transportation. Personally, I just like to finish my coffee in piece and never liked waiting on the sterile Bart platforms.