USA: On May 6 Bay Area Rapid Transit District announced an ambitious $3·4bn plan to purchase 700 metro cars to replace its entire 669-car fleet, some of which is now nearly 40 years old, and increase capacity to handle 500 000 weekday passengers in the San Francisco area.

There is currently no funding in place for new vehicles, but BART hopes to come up with a financing plan by September.

Five interior designs have been developed for public consultation. These have three sets of doors per side instead the current two, reducing dwell times but also cutting the number of seats. BART said the aim is to 'balance capacity, comfort, and boarding efficiency,' which will mean compromises in some features.

A tentative schedule would see the first car begin tests in 2013, 10 pilot vehicles delivered in 2014 and production approved in 2016. A base order of 200 cars would be accepted in 2018, a further 250 cars in 2021 and the final 250 in 2024. Two further options for 150 cars would allow for future growth.

  • A ceremony on May 8 marked the start of a $36m project to relocate utilities and existing Union Pacific tracks to allow BART to be extended to San Jose. The extension will run 26 km from the existing terminus in Fremont, through San Jose to Santa Clara. BART tracks would parallel the repositioned freight line on a 13 km alignment between Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont and Montague Expressway in Milpitas. The first 18 km to Berryessa is planned open in 2018.